Deacon Daniel Vallejo was ordained to the transitional diaconate in June.


Vocation Director Boot Camp


Every year, about 50 new Vocation Directors are appointed in the 250 dioceses in the U.S. and Canada. Often they are younger priests, typically ordained just three to ten years, whom bishops have chosen for a critical job: to inspire, mentor, and screen men who feel called to the priesthood.

“I’m more of a guide, not a recruiter,” said one Vocation Director from a Southeastern diocese. “I help guys listen to God’s voice; whether it’s to marriage or priesthood, that’s up to Him, not me.” Importantly, Vocation Directors act as gatekeepers, ensuring that very rigorous standards are upheld before accepting men to seminary.


But who trains the Vocation Directors on how to vet future seminarians? For the past 15 years, a very robust “bootcamp” for new Vocation Directors has been held by the NCDVD (National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors). Officially called the “Institute for New Vocation Personnel,” it features veteran instructors who dive deep into the candidate screening process, with a strong emphasis on human maturity and psychological evaluation.


Vocation Directors are well aware of the gravity of their task. “People are always going to ask you how many seminarians you have, but don’t get fixated on the numbers,” said one of the instructors. “Instead focus on forming good, holy men who can serve as faithful priests.”


“Vocations to the ministerial priesthood and to the consecrated life are first and foremost the fruit of constant contact with the living God and insistent prayer lifted up to the ‘Lord of the harvest’, whether in parish communities, in Christian families or in groups specifically devoted to prayer for vocations.”

- Pope Benedict XVI, Message for the 48th World Day of Pray for Vocations, May 15, 2011





After 9 years in the vocation office, I'm off to Rome 

Fr. Anthony Ligato

Vicar for Vocations



Back in March I was informed by Bishop Scharfenberger upon his return from his trip to Rome that I was requested to consider an appointment as a member of the faculty to Pontifical North American College Seminary in Rome.


I had given the request a great deal of prayer and discernment and ultimately declined the appointment. The new incoming Rector of Pontifical North American College in Rome, Rev. Msgr. Thomas Powers former Vicar General of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, called me in early May and appealed to me again, and again I declined, saying I have only been at the Cathedral less than a year and I had my responsibilities as Vicar for Vocations for the Diocese of Albany. His response was that he was leaving his parish and diocesan positions after being there only 17 months.


His sacrifice inspired me to consider again the request to accept the appointment. I told him I would bring his request to become part of the new incoming Formation team at the Pontifical North American College as Director of Pastoral Formation to further prayer. On the following Sunday after praying my office and reading the psalm that ended with Blessed are those who put their trust in the Lord, I contacted Msgr. Powers and Bishop Scharfenberger and let them know that I would accept the administrative and Faculty position at Pontifical North American College Seminary in Rome as the new Director of Pastoral Formation and Director of the implementation of the new USCCB Program for Priestly Formation edition 6 this coming fall.


I will be leaving my position as Vicar for Vocations after 9 years of ministry and service on July 31, 2022. I have been inspired by serving as Vicar for Vocations and my own priesthood has been enriched over my years of service in Vocations Ministry. I will take with me to the eternal city the memories of all the people I have had the privilege of meeting and serving in Vocation Ministry. Please remember me in your prayers and be assured I will be praying for everyone back in the Albany Diocese.


Yours in Christ,

Fr. Anthony Ligato




GOD CALLS who God calls when God calls



Fr. Rick Lesser

Diaconate Vocations for the Diocese of Albany

St. Luke (5:1-9) narrates for us the call of Peter, James and John. They are simple fishermen, and had been hard at work all night — and they had very little to show for it. Jesus arrives while they are still cleaning up — washing nets. It is easy to image them bone-tired, a little worried about their lack of success, and wondering how they would be able to meet demands and pay bills. Jesus gets into one of the boats, sits down, and in effect says “let’s go again”.


I suspect that at first these professional fishermen might have been annoyed at the intrusion. But there sits Jesus, with no sign that He would be going away anytime soon.  What God asked, they could not ignore. And in the end, their life, and ours, was all the better because of it.


God is persistent like that. He asks who He asks, when He asks. And there is something about God’s voice calling to us, that as hard as we try, we simply cannot unhear. Oh, we can try to ignore it, we can try to deny it, but eventually, we have to admit that God’s voice echoes in our ears and in our hearts.


Maybe you wonder if you have heard God calling you to be an ordained deacon. You may have protested that you are just an ordinary person going about your ordinary life. Maybe you don’t think you are holy enough or perfect enough. If so, ponder that Jesus called imperfect, unfinished, unprepared Peter. You may want nothing more than to wash your nets and be done with it all. But when Jesus comes and sits in your life, when he does so persistently, when you can think of a hundred good reasons to not listen, but never seem to be able to shut out His voice…. maybe it’s time to talk about it with someone.


God calls who God calls when God calls. If you are a man, either married or single, who
wonders if God is calling to you the Permanent Diaconate, come and talk. In the end, life, yours and others, will be better because you have listened.


 In service of the Gospel,

Fr. Rick Lesser
Director of Permanent Diaconate Formation


(518) 453-6690




A Scaramental Call to Holiness


Sr. Laurie Marie Parisi, C.R.

Religious Life

One day many years ago, Jesus journeyed from Nazareth to be baptized in the Jordan River. When He came out of the water, a voice was heard saying, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11)


All of us who have received the sacrament of baptism have also received the grace of being enfolded into the life of Christ. As we were baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, the waters of baptism were poured over us. At that moment, we became beloved children of the Triune God, and were consecrated to Him.  Through the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus, we are assured that after a life that is lived according to our baptismal consecration, we will hear the voice of God say to us: “With you I am well pleased.” 


The term, consecration, is frequently used by the Church. We often hear it used in reference to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass when ordinary unleavened bread and wine are consecrated and become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. To consecrate means to “set apart for a sacred purpose.” Like the bread and wine that are “set apart” to become the Body and Blood of Christ during the Mass, so are we, who have been consecrated to God through baptism, “set apart” to become an image of Jesus Christ to the world.


Consecration “entails a total dedication of a person…to God and to His service…Through the act of consecration, a state or stable condition is created in which a person…belongs exclusively to God and is therefore separated from ordinary…use.”[1]  Baptismal consecration imbues a person with a call to holiness…a call to sanctity through a complete dedication to God and a complete transformation into Christ.   


Through the sacrament of baptism, each member of the Church is called to give witness to Jesus Christ. “Every human being, created out of the life — giving love of the Holy Trinity, has a unique role to play in the Father’s plan of salvation. All are called to holiness.”[2]


For most people, their vocation, or rather, their call, to bear witness to Christ is brought forth within the context of families, parish communities, civic communities, and the workplace.  Their Christian vocation is lived by directly infusing modern culture and society with the Good News of Jesus Christ. In other words, Christians are obliged to zealously live out their baptismal consecration “so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all [people] throughout the earth.”[5]


Some people are called to give witness to the Gospel of Christ in a very different and radical way.  These people are called by God to imitate Jesus as closely as possible in His chastity, poverty, and obedience.  The promises that were made at baptism are taken to a deeper level through the public profession of the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience.  “This total dedication – born of love – obliges not only following the commandments, but also the counsels of Jesus, thus conforming one’s life to the poor, chaste, and obedient life of the Son of God.  This way of life is known as the vocation to the consecrated life.”[7]


“From the very beginning of the Church there were men and women who set out to follow Christ with greater liberty, and to imitate Him more closely...They led lives dedicated to God, each in [their] own way.”[8]  Through the establishment of monasteries, religious orders, congregations, and institutions, the Church has been enriched by this particular following of Christ. It is through the consecrated life that that these people discover their road to sanctity and union with God.   


From the beginning of the Church to this very day, countless consecrated men and women have left indelible marks on the Church and the world through their devout service to God and His people.  Imagine what the Church, and even the world, would be like without the various contributions of consecrated religious?  What would the Church be like if holy religious such as Saint Isaac Jogues, Saint Marianne Cope, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Katherine Drexel, and numerous others never existed?  The Church, the world, and even our own diocese would in fact be greatly impoverished if it had not been for the love, dedication, and witness of consecrated men and women. 


[1] Foundations of Religious Life pg. 15 

[2] Ibid. pg. 17 

[3] Ibid. 

[4] 1 Cor 12:4-7, 11 

[5] CCC §900 

[6] USCCA p. 135 

[7] Foundations of Religious Life pg. 15 

[8] PC §1 




Pray for our newly-ordained priests!


"The persistent and tireless working of the Holy Spirit called me to the priesthood, first in my teens during confirmation classes, and then silently working in the background until my marriage ended in divorce and annulment, where the call came back very powerfully.


Looking forward to the priesthood, I am excited to become part of a new faith community where I can grow into the priesthood by serving and learning the needs of the parishioners and the community.  I hope to make a positive impact on the people God has called me to serve and am honored and humbled at the prospect of tending to souls in ways I cannot begin to imagine."

~Fr. Russell Bergman




Fr. Russell Bergman

Fr. James O'Rourke


Meet our newest transitional deacon










Rev. Mr. Daniel Vallejo



Upcoming Events




6 PM

Rite of Candidacy

St. Clement Church Saratoga, NY


6 PM

Seminarian Drop-In

St. Matthew, Voorheesville, NY



6 PM

Rite of Sending of Seminarians

Church of the Holy Spirit, East Greenbrush


Vocations/ Young Adult Ministry Barbeque

Church of the Holy Spirit, East Greenbush




If you feel called to be a priest, be not afraid! Pray daily, seek the sacraments, and talk to a priest. If I can help you in any way to discern your vocation, please contact me at (518) 453-6690 or anthony.ligato@rcda.org.

Very Rev. Anthony F. Ligato, Vicar of Vocations

vianneyDiocese of Albany - Office of Vocations