New vocation team casts wider net

by Juan Guajardo

North Texas Catholic

September 19, 2017

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FORT WORTH — The Diocese of Fort Worth is taking a new approach to priestly vocations. Rather than an individual director helping men and women explore a vocational call, as was done in years prior, vocations will be fostered by a team of priests.

Bishop Michael Olson told the North Texas Catholic it’s a unique approach that will help build a culture of encounter and cast a wider net for young men and women “looking [into religious life] and discerning deeply.”

The goal is to increase vocations for a booming diocese by not letting potential candidates slip through the cracks.

Bishop Olson recently named five priests to take on that task. They include four vocation liaisons: Father Cruz Manuel Holguin, pastor of St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Fort Worth; Father Keith Hathaway, chaplain at Notre Dame Catholic School in Wichita Falls; Father Matthew Tatyrek, chaplain at Nolan Catholic High School in Fort Worth; and Father Nghia Nguyen, parochial vicar at St. John the Apostle Parish in North Richland Hills. Father Jonathan Wallis, the fifth member of the team, will serve as the Director of Seminarian Formation, overseeing and helping guide the formation of seminarians while he continues his assignment as Dean of Students at St. Joseph Seminary College in Covington, Louisiana.

The previous vocation director, Father James Wilcox, now serves as parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Arlington.

(Clockwise from top left) Fr. Jonathan Wallis, director of seminarian formation, along with Fr. Manuel Holguin, Fr. Nghia Nguyen, Fr. Keith Hathaway, and Fr. Matthew Tatyrek, vocations liaisons, make up the Vocations Office for the Diocese of Fort Worth. (NTC)


The four vocation liaisons will take the lead in offering discernment events like St. Andrew’s Breakfasts and Dinners, Come and See weekends at St. Joseph Seminary, and Holy Hours, in addition to annual diocesan events like Quo Vadis, Vocation Awareness Program, and the Lenten Discernment Program. The liaisons will also provide a presence at more parishes, including rural ones, and among Spanish and Vietnamese speakers, as all four priests will continue their current assignments while also taking on their new roles.

“Prayer and catechetical teaching is a key factor in this new approach,” Fr. Nguyen said. “We will be doing more catechetical teaching of the priesthood and helping men foster a deeper prayer life with our Lord.

“The role of the priesthood is not to live a comfortable lifestyle but one of a servant,” he continued. “The priesthood is ultimately in service for God’s people. Teaching them that is very vital in forming new humble priests.”

“The practical side is because of the size of our diocese we are breaking the task into various sites and deaneries” — a task that will now be easier thanks to the four-man team, he added.

Bishop Olson said the four liaisons would act less as directors who “recruit” and more as bridges, accompanying young men who feel a call to religious life, providing guidance in discerning, but also emphasizing formation, greater explanation on the sacrament of Holy Orders, and a stronger prayer life.

“In having more men devoted to vocations work it will allow us more time to acquaint [ourselves with] and get to know the young men who potentially have a vocation to the priesthood, and to foster community with priests, as well as other young men who are discerning,” Fr. Tatyrek said. “This will provide an environment where formation in prayer and catechesis, as it regards the priesthood, can occur.”

To reach a wider group of men and women, the Vocations Office will place greater emphasis on using social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) to promote upcoming vocation/discernment events, teach about the priesthood and religious life, and share invitations with the larger faith community. The Vocations Office will continue providing resources to anyone discerning a call to become a sister, brother, or deacon and direct them to the appropriate channel.

Fr. Wallis emphasized we all have a part to play in fostering vocations and asked for prayers for the diocesan “vocations team as they begin the endeavor of helping men hear and answer the call of Jesus Christ.”

Men and women who want to learn more about vocations in the diocese, including upcoming events, should visit fwdioc.org/vocations or call the vocations office at 817-945-9321.

 

FORT WORTH — The Diocese of Fort Worth is taking a new approach to priestly vocations. Rather than an individual director helping men and women explore a vocational call, as was done in years prior, vocations will be fostered by a team of priests.

Published (until 12/27/2035)
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