Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Friday, April 29, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Mother & Child Afternoon Tea

Home : News : Local
10/3/2012 11:10:00 AM
Vocations conference builds hope
Catholic Sentinel photo by Ed Langlois
Fr. Raul Marquez speaks as part of a vocations panel that includes Mary Jo Tully, Fr. Peter Siamoo, Sr. Eileen Brown and Fr. Paul Grubb.
Catholic Sentinel photo by Ed Langlois
Fr. Raul Marquez speaks as part of a vocations panel that includes Mary Jo Tully, Fr. Peter Siamoo, Sr. Eileen Brown and Fr. Paul Grubb.
Serra Club members listen to speakers at Portland convention.
Serra Club members listen to speakers at Portland convention.
Ed Langlois
Of the Catholic Sentinel

TIGARD — Brett Brannen has a truck, a dog and he likes to hunt. He also loves being a Catholic priest.

"Bring people to Jesus and get out of the way," the plain-spoken Georgian told a crowd of 120 Northwest Catholics gathered at a conference on vocations. The sentence is one of his priestly dictums.

Father Brannen, who has a flair for showing what's holy about everyday life, is the author of To Save a Thousand Souls, a book being distributed in many parts of the country to young men considering priesthood.  

Last month's conference was hosted by the Serra Club of Portland, which encourages vocations and gives support to local clergy and religious. Serra members came to the conference from clubs in Salem, Bend and points in Washington.

Father Brannen told Serra Club members that their personal holiness would create more holiness and could make a difference in what a young person chooses in life.  

Father Brannen, former vocations director for the Diocese of Savannah, said the church should develop clergy and religious by looking to God and working, but not fretting.

"God does not need us to do anything," he said. "He could fill the church with saintly priests at the snap of his fingers. But God allows us to be part of his work not because he needs us, but because he loves us."

Father Brannen is optimistic, despite statistics. For every 100 U.S. priests who die or retire, the church ordains 30. There are 17,000 parishes in the U.S.; more than 3,000 have no resident priest.

"Statistics can be paralyzing," Father Brannen says. "They can cause stinkin' thinkin'. But we are people of hope."

The church has been here before, the priest reminded the crowd. After the Protestant Reformation and the French Revolution, seminary enrollment dwindled and mavens of society foresaw the demise of Catholicism. But the church came back improved and stronger both times.

Father Brannen says the same will happen in the decades to come, following social revolutions of the 1960s and '70s and the past decade's revelations of priest sexual abuse.

"The church has been painfully pruned," he said. "Now she is beginning to bloom."

The quality of men coming to priesthood is excellent, Father Brannen reports, saying that one job of vocations directors is to steer some men away from seminary. "We don't need any more lazies or crazies in the priesthood," the priest said said. "We need men who love the Lord, who will go where they're sent and do what is asked of them."

The priesthood, he reminded the Serra Club members, is not an end in itself.

"The end is Jesus," he said, "and it's Jesus who saves souls."

Lay people came to the conference from the region's 14 different Serra clubs to enhance their zeal and skill for the work.

Families are where vocations start, says Paul Harris of the Portland Serra Club. But few families today are encouraging the choice.  

"We've outsourced the asking, to the parish religious education directors or teachers," Harris said.

"Our culture is becoming more secularized. We need to re-focus," said Morie Ratuiste, a Serra Club member from Pasco, Wash. His son Kyle is a seminarian for the Diocese of Spokane.

Father John Henderson, vocations director for the Archdiocese of Portland and Serra chaplain, discussed vocations in a eucharistic context, where Christ's service and sacrifice are made real.

"The Eucharist gives me purpose to stand up for the dignity of every human being," Father Henderson told the group. "The Eucharist is connected with my need to serve and carry out the social mission of the church."

Father Henderson said that financial comfort seems to "choke out" our openness to vocations of service.

"But all we worked for, all we saved, count to the Lord our Savior for, well, nothing," he said.  

Franciscan Sister Theresa Lamkin, who works with low-income and homeless people in Old Town, spoke about her ministry and her calling.

Sister Theresa has traveled the world experiencing poverty and social justice first hand. As a young woman, she heard Mother Teresa speak and saw the work of the Missionaries of Charity. She learned that the gospel calls humans not only to give food and clothes, but love and care. When someone is doing that gospel work, witnessing it can be a powerful vocational pull, Sister Theresa said.  

Jesuit Father Paul Grubb, who teaches freshman religion at Jesuit High School, discussed the need to show young people what the church teaches, but be aware of modern sensibilities.

"You start saying 'Jesus this' and 'Jesus that' in some crowds, it's like you just stunk up the room," Father Grubb said. "You need to be careful." Better simply to live out one's faith in full view, he said.

"The best thing you can do to bring the next generation to the table is to live a life that radiates the joy you find in your religion," the priest said.

"Nothing could be greater than being a priest," said Father Mike Biewend, pastor of The Madeleine Parish in Portland and a priest for 33 years. "I can't think of any greater way to help people. It's to share their greatest struggles and joys."

Father Raul Marquez, administrator of St. Peter Parish in Southeast Portland says he invites young people all the time to consider vocations. He urges parents to do the same.

Mary Jo Tully, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Portland and a seminary professor, said Catholics can develop their faith communities to foster vocations.

"I wonder if we worked on making our parishes the kind of community young men would like to lead if that would make a difference," Tully said.  

Father Peter Siamoo, a missionary from Tanzania, recalled playing priest as a child, wearing his mother's new Christmas gown as a vestment, with the hem dragging around the yard in chicken droppings.

The deep family connections in his region help open young men to the calling, said Father Siamoo. His Diocese of Moshi has only 54 parishes but 60 seminarians.

"Lots of thing can make us happy," he said. "But to live a fulfilled life, you need to follow where God has called you."

Holy Names Sister Eileen Brown, longtime educator and chancellor of the Diocese of Fairbanks, says she learned many things from her married siblings that have made her a better woman religious. Her work with Alaska natives showed her that there, the desire for family life and some matriarchal structures make Catholic priesthood a difficult notion. But she has hope.          

Father John Brennan, a theologian who teaches at St. John Seminary in Camarillo, Calif., discussed Mary as a paradigm for vocations. Mary, he said, consented to be led by God, but could have refused. Father Brennan showed a slide of a Renaissance painting of the annunciation. God watches Mary with anxious expectancy as the angel speaks to her.

"Ultimately this is the Christian vocation: Agree to give birth to Christ in your life," the priest said.


Advanced Search

Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved