Cardinal encourages leaders at Vocations Expo gathering
March 24, 2015
HOUSTON — When Archdiocesan leaders gathered at St. Mary Seminary for the 2015 Vocations Expo, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo looked at the Archdiocese's past to inform the future of vocations.
Hosted by the Archdiocesan Office of Vocations in conjunction with the 2015 Year of Consecrated Life, the conference featured Cardinal DiNardo as the keynote speaker, along with two rounds of workshops, Mass and more than a dozen of vendors including religious congregations, Serra clubs from District 10 and other vocation resources.
"We cannot let go of what it means to have consecrated men and women religious in our local churches," Cardinal DiNardo said. "They represent a vibrant form of prophecy, as the pope says, a witness and a boldness and joy. We need that joy to be displayed.
"If we had not had communities of men and women religious at the origins of the Diocese of Galveston... we would not be here," said Cardinal DiNardo. At the start of the Catholic Church in Texas, communities would send over religious sisters and brothers, many of whom would die soon after arriving.
"Much of the material goodness we have now came from the immaterial richness of poverty of the communities of men and women religious who decided to go to Texas," he said.
Thrilled that diverse, international religious communities now serve in the Archdiocese, Cardinal DiNardo also shared a deep concern for the crucial role of vocations to the religious life and vocations for women.
"We need the witness, the boldness and the joy of committed women religious. It's not that we don't have any, we just don't have enough of them," Cardinal DiNardo said.
Serra Club USA board member-elect Margo Geddie found the discussions inspirational, provocative and educational.
"Everyone here is coming to find ways in which we can puncture the silence," she said. "So many people feel called, but no one knows how to puncture their silence. We're here to do that and open them up so that they can feel free to answer God's calling safely to the priesthood or religious life."
Throughout the day, presenters reflected on the mission of vocations in the Archdiocese. Workshop presenters included Lisa May, Archdiocesan director of archives, who spoke on the the role of women and men religious in building of the Archdiocese; Sister Roselle Haas, rc, who discussed the myths and mysteries of religious life; Archdiocesan Vocations Director Father T.J. Dolce shared how to wake up your parish to vocations; and Sister Elsa Garcia, CDP, talked about vocations in the growing Hispanic Church in Spanish.
Geddie saw tremendous response and opportunity in the turn out.
"This is more than I ever could have dream for," she said. "People aspire to come to come to a Vocations Expo on a Saturday — when that's their one day off — it shows the power of the Holy Spirit and it's clearly a game changer and a winner.
"I'd like to see 500 people here, and I think we can do just that."
For more about the Year for Consecrated Life in the Archdiocese, visit archgh.org/ycl. To learn more about vocations in the Archdiocese, call 713-652-8239 or visit houstonvocations.com.