Virtual vocation contact ramps up
THROUGHOUT the many months of COVID- 19 restrictions, virtual contact has grown between religious communities and people considering life as a sister, brother, or religious priest. Some religiouscommunities have even reported that without the limits of geography,increased numbers of people have taken part in the online versions ofevents that used to happen in person, such as retreats, convent andmonastery visits, and discernment discussions.
“Being a vocation director in the middle of a pandemic is challenging,”Sister Judith Timmerman, O.S.B. told The Arkansas Catholic in early 2021.
“But I’m so grateful that we have the technology for me to accompany
these women on a sacred journey that I was on not long ago.”
Timmerman has hosted an online discernment retreat, meets
virtually with women in discernment, and is active on several platforms
of social media. Her
experience has become the
norm for hundreds of men
and women who serve in
vocation ministry. While most
communities hope to return
to face-to-face contact with
those considering religious
life, many expect to keep
virtual offerings in the mix.
Both live and virtualvocation retreats, discussions,prayer services, and moremay be found at VISION’svocationnetwork.org/events.
Josephites have focused on ministry to African Americans, which has put social justiceissues front and center for them, includingat St. Brigid’s, a black and Latino parish.
Speaking to Religion News Service,
Keke remarked that Gorman’s inauguration
poem, “The Hill We Climb,” treated themes
of “democracy and unity” and “living in
the country as one people, recognizing one
another and respecting one another…. That
is the spirit of St. Brigid.”
Keke and his parishioners told media
outlets they relished seeing Gorman, the
national youth poet laureate, bring her
hope-filled poem to an audience of millions.
On the day Gorman recited her now much-
quoted poem, the parish Facebook page car-
ried a photo of her at the podium with the
words: “Our very own Amanda Gorman.”
WHEN Amanda Gor- man became an
instant sensation after her
acclaimed poetry reading
at the Biden inauguration,
Josephite priest Father
Kenneth Keke, S.S.J. was
among many who cheered
her on. For good
reason: He and his
helped set the tone
at St. Brigid’s, the Los
Angeles parish where
Gorman grew up, and
the themes in Gor-
man’s poem ring true
to the socially conscious parish.
Since their founding in 1871, the
JOSEPHITE PRIEST AND PARISH DELIGHT
IN INAUGURATION POEM
FATHER KENNETH KEKE, S.S.J.
shared the joy of his parishwhen Amanda Gorman, oneof their own, won accoladesfor the reading of her poem,“The Hill We Climb” at theinauguration of PresidentJoseph Biden.
“Discovering vocation does not
mean scrambling toward some
prize just beyond my reach but
accepting the treasure of true self I
already possess. Vocation does not
come from a voice ‘out there’ call-
ing me to be something I am not. It
comes from a voice ‘in here’ calling
me to be the person I was born to
be, to fulfill the original selfhood
given me at birth by God.”
—Father Thomas Merton,
BRO THER CHRIS Patiño, F.S.C. speaks in a You Tubevideo series about the lives of Catholic brothers.
COURTESY OF THE CONFERENCE OF MAJOR SUPERIORS OF MEN
FATHER THOMAS Merton, O.C.S.O.
was a mid-20th century monk,spiritual writer, social critic, and poet.