Vocations has teamed up with young adult ministry to help those in the prime of their questioning years find the answers.
Part of finding the right answer is having all the information, and that includes being open to careers such as mission work or a call to religious life.
“When you’re young and caught up in life it’s easy to write off a possible vocation,” said Valerie Soop. “We want to increase awareness so it’s not so foreign to young adults.”
Soop just started as associate director of young adult ministry in January, so she and Father Jeffrey F. Kirby, vicar of vocations, had a lot of details to work out, but saw very clearly how their ministries overlapped.
She said their goal is to help this age group grow in holiness and understand the importance of a Christian vocation in daily life. It isn’t just about finding what God wants you to do, it’s acting the way He wants in everyday situations, Soop said.
“How do you react when someone insults you in some way?” she asked. “It’s all part of building awareness.”
The two departments will interact as much as possible so young adults, seminarians and priests grow to know one another. Soop said it’s important for everyone to understand how essential both ministries are and how symbiotic in nature.
Already, they’ve hosted Bible study and other events between the two groups, and both Soop and Father Kirby have criss-crossed the state speaking at each other’s events. Long-range, the strategic plan calls for a couple of joint retreats each year and participation in the annual Diocesan Rally of Young Adults.
The two departments will also collaborate on mission trips, pilgrimages, and Lenten days of recollection. Father Kirby said he will visit the young adult groups and Soop will speak at vocations events.
“We’re always connected,” Soop said. “We hope to make vocations more familiar and less scary.”
Christopher Davies, 31, said it’s a great way to help dispel misconceptions people might have about priests and the priesthood.
Before he converted last Easter and moved into the Drexel residence, Davies said he had an image of priests as ritualistic, without a lot of heart or passion.
“Now I know so many priests and it’s such an obvious falsehood,” he said. “There’s such a depth of graciousness there.”
Now Davies has an open mind about the possibility of a religious vocation, whereas before it wasn’t a consideration. And that’s what the two ministries are hoping for.
• Young adult leadership training session, White Oak, Aug. 25-26. Father Kirby will speak.
• Diocesan-wide young adult rally to celebrate the Year of Faith, St. Peter in Columbia, Oct. 13.