6/5/2014 10:20:00 AM New vocations efforts rely on internet
Father Radmar Jao speaks on the the Jesuits’ interactive vocations website.
Two men’s religious communities with a strong presence in Oregon have begun vocations initiatives relying on the internet.
The Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, have launched an interactive vocations website, www.jesuitvocations.org. The website features a series of video chats hosted by Jesuits, filmed and edited by Loyola Productions in their Los Angeles studios. Users can tailor the conversation to their needs by choosing questions on a broad range of topics – from training, ordination and vows to questions about Jesuit spirituality and commitment to social justice.
The first video chat in the series is hosted by Father Radmar Jao, an actor with movie and television credits before he became a Jesuit. Other hosts include Brother Ken Homan and Father James Martin, the New York Times bestselling author and frequent “Colbert Report” guest.
The Jesuits have reported a surge in vocation inquiries since the election of Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope. Meanwhile, the Congregation of Holy Cross has developed a free vocations curriculum that can be downloaded at curriculum.holycrossvocations.org. The congregation founded the University of Portland and the University of Notre Dame.
“To Make God Known, Loved and Served” is for elementary and middle school teachers and catechists to help students come to a deeper understanding and appreciation of vocation, whether it is single life, marriage, priesthood or religious life.
“Many teachers are excited about the possibility of helping to encourage their students to consider a vocation to the religious life and priesthood,” says Holy Cross Father James Gallagher, director of vocations for Holy Cross in the U.S. “Yet, we would often find that they were not confident in talking about it, as it was not their own vocation. They did not know the inner workings of what draws someone to religious life or the priesthood.”
Teachers from a Notre Dame-based teaching service program helped develop the materials, which went free to Catholic schools with teachers from the program or from a similar project based at the University of Portland. The curriculum received an imprimatur from Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.