BY ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD, THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC
According to Msgr. Scott Friend, vocations director for the Diocese of Little Rock, Ark., fundamental to fostering vocations in any diocese is that “all of us have to believe.”
Msgr. Friend spoke to the 450 people gathered for the Diocese of Owensboro’s sixth annual Vocare gala and fundraiser on Sept. 20, 2019, held at the Owensboro Convention Center. He was filling in for Bishop Anthony B. Taylor of Little Rock, who was the originally scheduled speaker but who had to cancel due to a family emergency.
Vocare is one of the ways the diocese promotes and supports vocations. Funds raised at Vocare – which is Latin for “to call” – contribute to the education and formation of diocesan seminarians, which the diocese covers. The funds may also be used to support any person from the diocese seeking to enter consecrated life. As of this story’s printing, Vocare 2019 had raised more than $70,000.
“Unless we all believe, we’re not going to have vocations,” said Msgr. Friend in his keynote address, adding that “it says a lot about our faith life if you and I don’t believe.”
Msgr. Friend explained that vocations are not just about “us getting priests and religious – it’s about all of us becoming disciples.”
He credited seminarians for their witness as they discern God’s call in their lives, since it is a reminder that “the Lord speaks not just to them, but also to us.”
Msgr. Friend thanked the Vocare guests for coming to the event and supporting vocations, despite the scandals that have plagued the Catholic Church in recent years: “As a priest, after all that’s happened, you’re willing to show up here – as a priest it fills me with joy because you’re still here.”
“The world thought that we were done,” said Msgr. Friend. “But the world doesn’t know the Catholic person – man or woman – who believes.”
The video below was shown at Vocare 2019, featuring interviews with young people at Gasper River Catholic Youth Camp & Retreat Center, on the topic of vocations.
Originally printed in the October 2019 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.
Copyright © 2019 Diocese of Owensboro/The Western Kentucky Catholic