Enter #365 at VocationMatch.com
arrived with so many worries and
concerns, but after praying together,
“it’s like the problem I came with
all of a sudden wasn’t that big of a
problem,” they would say to him.
Inspiring vocations at a quiet pace
In 2013 Henson took on a new role,
as a vocation director for the Carmelites, traveling around the country
and working with inquirers, visiting
parishes, leading retreats, and visiting youth conferences and schools.
“He brings the same energy, the
same enthusiasm, the same genuine
interest in young people and their
journeys,” says Brother Daryl Mores-
co, the Carmelites’ provincial director
of vocations and pre-novitiate direc-
tor. “He loves to be on the road” and
“he always makes time for a personal
contact,” but most of all, Moresco
says, “He’s got kind of an infectious
personality. He’s full of joy.”
Henson has now been a Carmel-
ite for 20 years. When not work-
ing, he hikes and works out, reads
fantasy and adventure novels as well
as books on Pope Francis. While he
may have been uncertain about his
call in the beginning, he has thrived
on the order’s charism of prayer,
community, and ministry.
“Prayer has to be a daily part of
our lives,” Henson says. “What Carmelite tradition has taught the world
is that prayer can be anywhere and
everywhere in the day. Carmelites
HENSON TAKES part
in a vocation fair as
part of his ministry.
Eventually I just
said this is where
God wants me.
I just have to do it.”
was the migration of the people
to the church as a place that was a
familiar home to them,” despite not
really having homes of their own.
Henson said he worked with
people who were “so hungry to learn
about church, to learn about how
God acts in our lives in very concrete
ways.” Because there was no church
building, on Sundays before Mass
the children would sprinkle water
on the dirt to keep down the dust.
Week after week, “they would make
church,” Henson says. He remembers
also what a wise older man living in
the Andes Mountains in Peru told
him. “Be careful, Paul, what you
do in these mountains. Recognize
that God’s footprint is already there.
God’s already there in the people.
You don’t come in telling them what
to do. You respect where they’re at.”
Later, he applied what he’d
learned there to his work at Crespi.
Every month, he’d offer “Coffee with
Father Paul”—an hour-long chance
for parents to discuss their concerns.
He started each session with lectio
divina, a form of scripture media-
tion, and prayer and then talk about
issues. Parents would tell him they’d
are known for praying outside of the
Henson brings to his ministry
a “great respect for the discernment
process,” Moresco says. “It’s not
about getting people in the door,
it’s about walking with them, help-
ing them discern their vocation.
He’s very good at bringing his own
RELATED ARTICLE: vocationnetwork.org,
experience to that. Yes, he joined a
little bit later,” having earned a col-
lege degree and considered marriage
and children instead. In working
with inquirers, Henson focuses on
“how to do this discernment really
well, honoring the journey of each
When it comes to vocation,
Henson believes the contemplative,
prayerful approach of the Carmelites
is a good one. “When God calls,” he
explains, “there’s no hurry.” =
“Know thyself: A priest finds his way,”