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​Welcome to the website for the Office of Priestly Vocations of the Diocese of Grand Rapids, MI. This year twenty-five men from our diocese will be in seminary formation programs in preparation for ordination, seven of whom are new to formation. Thirteen of these men are at St. John Vianney College Seminary and twelve are at USML/Mundelein Seminary.

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My No. 1 discernment tip.

December 2023

My No. 1 discernment tip.

By Fr. Stephen Durkee, Director of Priestly Vocations

I often get asked, “What is my No. 1 tip for a young person discerning?” My answer is relevant, whether you’re a man considering the priesthood, or a woman considering religious life: Do not run away from the question!

We can “run” from God by talking ourselves out of the calling, saying, “I could never preach.” Or “I could never pray that much!” Or “But I want a family.” All of these reactions can be invitations to further consider how the Lord might help you discover how life in ministry and love to his people can be more fulfilling than one could ever know.

Not everyone who discerns a vocation will become a priest or sister, but how will you know if you don’t give it serious consideration? My point is this: Many priests and religious once thought similar things when they first felt called. And yet, with God’s grace, they found they absolutely could! It’s amazing what God can do when we say yes to him!

One way we’re reaching out to young people to assist them with this invitation to discernment is through our new Office of Priestly Vocations Instagram account, @GRVocations. With the help of the Office of Communications, we’re stepping up our digital game to expand our reach with engaging content to help young people delve into the question: “What is God calling me to do with my life?”

The goal is to show young people the realities of discernment and formation, giving them a place to heed the invitation to a possible vocation. We also want to show that a vocation to the priesthood can be one of joy by releasing reels (or videos) of priests answering questions such as “What do you love about the priesthood?” or “How did you first feel called to become a priest?”

As one might expect, being director of the Office of Priestly Vocations, I was one of the first to step in front of the camera. Let’s just say the team in the Office of Communications may have found more joy and hilarity in my recordings than I intended. There were moments of awkwardness, playful stumbles over words, quotes from my favorite movies and many laughs that echoed out across the fourth floor of the diocesan offices.

One thing that emerged from that recording session was a collection of hilarious bloopers that may or may not make their way onto our Instagram in the future. But, if it helps young people see more of the fun side of priesthood, then the good-natured embarrassment that comes from sharing the blooper reel will be worth it.

I invite you to follow our new @GRVocations Instagram. There, you’ll find inspiring stories, thoughtful reflections and perhaps a blooper or two to lighten your day. It’s one small way for us to engage in conversations with our young people about vocations and responding to their own personal call from God.

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