vineyard of vocation promotion, good information is an effective tool.
Not only should those promoting vocations have a breadth of knowledge,
it is also crucial to provide good information to the discerner. One
incredibly helpful resource to meet this need is a “Discerner’s Packet”.
We take for granted easy access to information these days, but the importance of guiding a young discerner to
good information is hard to overstate. There is a lot of
information about the Church available online, for example – but not all
of that information is actually helpful, and much of it is untrue or
misleading, especially when it is commentary about vocations from
Discerner's Packet, parishes, Catholic schools, youth ministries, and
other institutions can effectively provide good, useful knowledge for
discerners, making it easy to understand the basics and, just as
important, to find more good information.
Discerner's Packet can be as simple or elaborate as you like, but should
at least contain a minimum of good, basic resources enabling a young
man or woman to begin a diligent discernment.
Here are some suggestions for resources to include:
A Letter of Encouragement
Start with a letter from
the pastor or chaplain, include a personal story of discernment,
assurance of prayers and assistance, and contact information.
Provide prayers which
may help lead the young person to be open to listening and accepting
God's call. Here is an example from the USCCB:
Prayer to Know My Vocation
Lord, my God and my
loving Father, you have made me to know you, to love you, to serve you,
and thereby to find and to fulfill my deepest longings. I know that you
are in all things, and that every path can lead me to you.
But of them all, there
is one especially by which you want me to come to you. Since I will do
what you want of me, I pray you, send your Holy Spirit to me: into my
mind, to show me what you want of me; into my heart, to give me the
determination to do it, and to do it with all my love, with all my mind,
and with all of my strength right to the end. Jesus, I trust in you.
Put together a list of
Scriptural passages regarding discernment, and include pamphlets or even
a book which can help answer questions.
1 Sam 3:1-10 The Call of Samuel: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening”
Isa 6:1-13 The Call of Isaiah: “’Whom shall I send?’…‘Here I am…send me!’”
Mt 4:18-22 or Mk 1:16-20 Jesus Calls his first disciples: “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.”
Acts 15:28 “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us.”
Include the contact
information of the Vocation Director, pastor or chaplain, and religious
communities in case a discerner decides to take the next step. The most
important pieces of information are phone numbers, email addresses, and
websites, as these are the most likely ways young discerners will
you've assembled a your Discerner's Packets, be sure the discerners of
the parish have easy access to them! Put a few in the church vestibule,
for example, or in youth ministry areas. And be sure that everyone knows
about them, so that when a discerner asks, you have a wealth of
information readily available!
Priesthood Discernment Process
Fr. Anthony Ligato, Vicar for Vocations
The Domestic Church
The discernment process
for Priesthood begins with the Domestic Church, in the Rite of Baptism
parents are reminded that they are the first teachers of the faith to
their children. The home is known as the Domestic Church, it is also
known as the first seminary for the role and responsibility parents have
in forming their children in the ways of faith. The United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops outline the importance of the Domestic
Church in supporting Vocations to the Priesthood. According to the
Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church: “The
family, is so to speak, the domestic church.” (
Lumen Gentium #11) This means that it is in the context of the
family that we first learn who God is and to prayerfully seek His will
for us. In the following bullet points you will find some suggestions on
how to build your “domestic church” through a life of prayer that can
help all the members of your family.
Begin praying as a family and reading from Scripture daily,
certainly before meals, but also first thing in the morning or before
bed. Find a time that works for your family. Use the liturgy of the
Church as a model for prayer and try to include heartfelt unstructured
prayer as well.
Pray a Family Rosary (each member leads a decade, and everyone shares intentions).
Have a crucifix in a prominent place in the home, and in every bedroom.
Make the Sacraments a regular celebration – take the whole family to Confession and Mass!
Begin family traditions based on the seasons celebrated in the liturgical calendar.
Make your vacation a holy pilgrimage by visiting the shrines and saints of our land and the world.
Make worshiping God a priority. Never miss Mass.
Teach stewardship and charity to your children, through word and example.
Demonstrate love for your spouse, your children, your neighbors, and
the world. Remind their children that they are loved by God and have
been given gifts to serve others.
Talk freely about the presence of God in the joys and sorrows of your life.
Welcome into your home and support priests, brothers, sisters, deacons, and lay ministers in the Church.
Participate in the lay ministries and activities of your parish community.
Allow your children to witness you in private prayer. Encourage your
children to pray daily on their own, to listen for God’s call, and if
heard, to respond.
From the practicing and the witnessing of faith in the homes all
vocations are supported and encouraged, especially Vocations to the
Priesthood. Parents are essential in the discernment process for their
support and encouragement can make all the difference if a young man
will even consider entering into the discernment process.
Once a man prayerfully discerns to enter into the formal process for
Priestly discernment, he will enter the discernment process at the St.
Isaac Jogues House of Formation and Pre-Seminary in Albany.
St. Isaac Jogues House of Formation and Pre-Seminary
Weekly Formations Sessions begin at 6:00pm with evening prayer, Mass, and Dinner. Formations Sessions Follow.
The St. Isaac Jogues
House of Formation and Pre-Seminary Discernment and Formation Program is
for men who are serious Discerners and Aspirants. Our weekly sessions
allow participants to discern with other men in a sacred and spiritual
setting. The St. Isaac Jogues House of Formation and Pre-Seminary
Discernment Program is a two-year process which includes weekly
Formations Sessions that begin with evening prayer, Mass, and Dinner
with the Formations Sessions Follow. The men who are participants in the
House of Formation and Pre-Seminary program
have an opportunity to take philosophy courses at St. Bernard’
School of Theology and Ministry in Albany. These courses enable the
participants to earn a master’s degree in Catholic Philosophy which
helps prepare them for their theological studies when they go off to
Seminary at the end of the two years in the St. Isaac Jogues House of
Formation and Pre-Seminary Discernment and Formation
During the course of the
fall and spring semesters men decide if they want to continue to go
forward with their discernment as Aspirants. An Aspirant is one who has
decided to enter into the Seminarian Application Process with the
Diocese of Albany. Not all men decide on this next step, some continue
on in their discernment for those men they are offered a second year
which focuses on Pastoral ministry. These men are placed with Priest
Supervisors in Parishes to participate in Pastoral Ministry. Those who
participate in the second-year program meet as a discerners group once a
month with the Vicar for Vocations and other members of the Vocations
Team as they complete their formal seminarian application process and
prepare to go away to major seminary.
Topics of study and discussion for our fall sessions focus on the
Four Pillars of Formation, Human, Intellectual, Spiritual and Pastoral
Formation. These four pillars were outlined by Pope St. John Paul the II
in the encyclical, “Pastores Dabo Vobis”.
If you are interested in Participating in the fall 2021 St. Isaac
Jogues House of Formation and Pre-Seminary Program, please contact.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
~Robert Frost “The Road Not Taken”
f you are reading this,
it may be that you are standing at some sort of crossroad, wondering
which way to go. One is well trod, well known, a path you have walked
over and over again. The other is a bit of a mystery, but somehow you
can’t help but feel that it may be the path you are called to. Not
knowing what lies ahead has left you hesitant. And while one can only
know the fullness of any path by walking it, having a travel guide gives
us some comfort about starting. So, let me give you a little bit of a
travel guide to the path of discernment for the Permanent Diaconate.
First, pray about it. A lot. Often.
O Lord, help me to know your will for me. Let your light shine in
the depths of my heart that I may know what you want me to do with my
life. Help me believe that you have a special plan for me. Lord, I know I
pass through this life only once; help me decide how you want me to
make a difference. Like our Blessed Mother, give me the wisdom to hear
your voice and the courage to answer your call. Above all give me peace
of mind and heart. I offer this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ our
(Used with permission: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops USCCB)
Next, do a little research on who a deacon is and what they do. We suggest you start with these:
The Emerging Diaconate: Servant Leaders in a Servant Church, William T. Ditewig,
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of
Permanent Deacons in the United States, (DMLPD) United States Conference
of Catholic Bishops, 2005.
If you are still
standing there, curious or excited about what you have heard in prayer
and read, contact the Vocations office and request an intake form and
set up a meeting to talk. There is no obligation. But this is a
necessary first step.
I can tell you the road
map to follow and accompany you on the way, but what you find is yours
alone to find. The journey of discernment (by you, your family, the
formators, the diocese, and the Bishop in cooperation with the Holy
Spirit) begins with Inquiry. You will be invited to meet with the
director, attend several informational gatherings, explore the
pre-requisites, attend some classes, and experience prayer time. This
phase usually takes several years. Next comes the stage of Aspirancy. In
this year-long stage you enter discernment in a deeper fashion with
Ignatian Spiritual Directors to help you along the way. That is followed
by three years of Candidacy which focuses on human, spiritual,
intellectual and pastoral formation. Candidates earn a Masters Degree
from St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry as part of that
Not everyone travels the
path at the same pace. And starting does not obligate one to
finish…..in fact, successful discernment may lead one to understand that
God is calling you to some other road all together. If you are a man,
either married or single, who wonders if God is calling to venture down a
road less traveled, come and talk. You are not alone.
In service of the Gospel,
Fr. Rick Lesser Director of Permanent Diaconate Formation
Mother Theodore Guerin, a French-American saint who founded a religious
community, once wrote: “Reflect seriously on what you desire to do.
Above all, pray much that Our Lord may make known to you what He wishes
you to do.” This is excellent advice for anyone who is discerning the
consecrated life. Prayer is one of the essential elements for vocation
the use of modern technology can provide a person with an unlimited
number of distractions, vocational discernment has been made easier by
modern technology. Women today can easily surf the internet to learn
about the consecrated life and the plethora of religious communities
both in America and throughout the world. There are even apps women can
download to assist them as they discern religious life. Facebook,
Instagram, Twitter, blogs – there are so many on-line resources for
women to help them discern their vocation, and to begin communicating
with religious women.
this is good, but it potentially can block out an essential component of
vocational discernment, which is prayer. By prayer, I mean time spent
away from noise, people, and yes, even cell phones. Sometimes, a woman
who is discerning a vocation to the religious life can easily get caught
up in discerning her vocation on-line. She gets so caught up with
discerning her vocation via social media, that she forgets to spend time
in solitude and quiet with the One who waiting for her to log off the
internet to be with Him.
is a compulsory part of vocational discernment. God’s voice can only be
heard when our whole beings are quiet and are not being inundated with
sensory stimuli. It is in the stillness of her heart that a discerning
woman can listen to the Voice of God and come to the realization of His
plans for her. Setting aside a few minutes each day for being with God
in prayer will have a vast impact on a woman’s discernment. It’s a
guarantee that time spent in prayer with a heart open to God’s Will is
more effective than time spent trying to discern the religious life with
Pray For Our Men in Formation
Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany Office of Vicar for Vocations 2020-2021 Seminarians and Aspirants
Deacon Daniel McHaleSeminarian: Fourth Theology, Pope St. John XXIII Seminary
Deacon Kyle GorenskiSeminarian: Fourth Theology, St. Mary’s Seminary
Deacon Matthew DuclosSeminarian: Fourth Theology, North American College, Rome
Deacon Nate Resila Seminarian: Fourth Theology, St. Mary of the Lake Seminary
Deacon Stephen YuskoSeminarian: Fourth Theology, North American College, Rome
Deacon James O'RourkeSeminarian: Third Theology, Pope St. John XXIII Seminary
Deacon Russell BergmanSeminarian: Third Theology, Pope St. John XXIII Seminary
Daniel VallejoSeminarian: Second Theology, St. Mary of the Lake Seminary
Adam FeisthamelSeminarian: First Theology, St. Mary’s Seminary
Anthony OnuSeminarian: First Theology, St. Mary of the Lake Seminary
Joseph Tuan Pham Seminarian: First Theology, St. Mary’s Seminary
Thomas YakalisSeminarian: Pastoral Year
Thomas FallatiSeminarian: M.Div. Program, St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Paul McDonaldSeminarian: M.Div. Program, St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Alessio FasulloSeminarian Candidate: Second Pre-Theology, St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Christopher HanifinAspirant: Second Pre-Theology, St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Dominic Duc Tuyen NguyenAspirant: Second Pre-Theology, St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Joseph Hien PhamSeminarian: Second Pre-Theology, Maria College & St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Louis NamugeraSeminarian: Second Pre-Theology, St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Matthew PalardySeminarian Candidate: Second Pre-Theology, St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Peter Phu LaiSeminarian: Second Pre-Theology, Maria College & St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Samuel ZuzeSeminarian Candidate: Second Pre-Theology, St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Roland CarpioAspirant: First Pre-Theology, St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Thomas FloodAspirant: First Pre-Theology, St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Emmanuel Peter HassonAspirant: First Pre-Theology, St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Franklin AnyanechiAspirant: First Pre-Theology, Maria College & St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Arnold PyramAspirant: First Pre-Theology, Maria College & St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Gilbert KimaroAspirant: First Pre-Theology, Maria College & St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Ben MosesAspirant: First Pre-Theology, St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Bobby SandaganAspirant: First Pre-Theology, St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Alexander TurpinAspirant: First Pre-Theology, St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Paul Morgan WahomeAspirant: First Pre-Theology, St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Joseph Tuan CaoSeminarian: Third College, Cathedral College Seminary
Joseph Hoa Hien PhamSeminarian: Second College, Maria College & St. Isaac Jogues Pre-Seminary
Patrick SweeneyCollegeSeminarian: Second College, Cathedral College Seminary
Seminarians are those who have been officially accepted for
Formation to the Priesthood; Aspirants are those who are in the
Discernment process at the St. Isaac Jogues House of Formation; Seminarian Candidates are those in the application process to become a Seminarian.
Pastoral Year placements are designated for Seminarians who have
already begun their Priestly Formation and who reside at the Parish
where they are assigned.
Pastoral Placements are for the men who will be participating in
either the First Year or Second Year of the St. Isaac Jogues House of
Discernment Program in Watervliet.
Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany Office of Vicar for Vocations 2020-2021 Deacon Candidates and Aspirants
Eduardo Treviño JrCandidate - St. Edward the Confessor, Clifton Park
Eric Ramirez Aspirant - Corpus Christi, Round Lake
Pastoral Year placements are designated for Candidates each summer
during their formation at Albany Medical Center or Catholic Charities
and in the acolyte year of their Candidacy at a parish.
Vocation Office News
Congratulations to our Graduates!
to Seminarians Thomas Fallati, Paul McDonald and Louis Namugera who
graduated from St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry. Thomas,
Paul and Louis are the first Seminarians to graduate from our newly
created St. Isaac Jogues House of Formation and Pre-Seminary with
master's degrees. Thomas Fallati and Paul McDonald will begin Seminary
in the fall at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston
Massachusetts and Louis Namugera will begin Seminary in the fall at St.
Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore.
The Chalice Project
Chalice Project is an opportunity for retired Priests or families of
Priests to donate their Chalices to the Office of the Vicar for
Vocations for their reuse by future Priests of the Roman Catholic
Diocese of Albany. The Chalice Project has provided Chalices for use by
many of our Priests of the Diocese of Albany. The Priests who donated
their Chalices have been remembered each time mass is celebrated using
their Chalice. This is also a wonderful way of guaranteeing that the
Chalices are preserved and used for the express purpose of the
celebration of the Eucharist. We keep the Chalices on display at the St.
Isaac Jogues House of Formation and Pre-Seminary. Those preparing for
ordination have an opportunity to view the Chalices and request one of
If you have a Chalice you would like to donate, please contact Fr. Anthony Ligato at Anthony.Ligato@rcda.org or phone the Office of the Vicar for Vocations:
News from Parish and School Vocations Committees
Please feel free to reply to this newsletter with vocations news from your parish and school vocation committees.
Help Promote Vocations
Request additional (free) vocation resources!
Did you know that you can request additional copies of our
seminarian and religious life posters and cards, as well as the Vocation
Lessons brochure and diaconate prayer cards?
Request the new 2020-2021 Vocation Resources
Did you know we have a
team of people just waiting to talk to your Parish Community, Faith
Formation students, or Catholic School about their vocation?
To request a Brother, Sister, Religious Order Priest, or Deacon to speak, go to:
Calling all Catechists, Youth Ministers, and Catholic School teachers!
is provided to you by the Vocations Office for free and gives K–12
Vocation Lessons for Catholic Schools and Parish Religious Education.
Give it a look today!
Teacher Access Code: AlbanyVocations518
Student Access Code: JesusCallsMe
St. Isaac Jogues House of Formation and Pre-Seminary
Regular Formation Session Schedule
Evening Prayer - 6:00pm
Mass - 6:15pm
Dinner - 6:45pm
Formation Session - 7:30pm
Community night dates are Monday evenings and all designated
Seminarians & Aspirants are expected to attend each
session. The Evening Prayer leader is also the lector for Mass.
Second & Third Year: All
Community night dates are Sunday evenings. We will meet twice each
month to study and discuss the church’s teaching on Ecclesiology,
Development of Ministry, Theology of Ministry and the importance of
Pastoral Ministry and its effect in developing ecclesial communion.
Human formation will be an integral part of these sessions. The assigned
reading will help to enhance our discussions on your pastoral
experiences in your parish’s assignments. All designated
Seminarians/Aspirants are expected to attend each session. The evening
will follow the same format as the First-Year program, evening prayer,
Mass, dinner and Formation session.
Events are planned to go on as scheduled but subject to change.