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57th Annual Convention


Rev. Luke Ballman

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Luke Ballman, STL, a priest of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, is the Executive Director of the Secretariat of Clergy Consecrated Life and Vocations at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Fr. Ballman formerly served as the Director of Apostolic Formation at the Pontifical North American College, a position he held for five years.  Ordained in July of 2001, Fr. Ballman’s priestly ministry has also included service as a parochial vicar, pastor, vocation director, and vicar for clergy in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. A Graduate of the Pontifical North American College, with a STL in Spiritual Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, University of Dayton (1987), Cum Laude. Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.


Workshop 1: Spiritual Health for Vocation Directors

Rev. Jacques Philippe

Please join us for a workshop from well-known author and writer Fr. Jacques Philippe, from the Community of the Beatitudes. He will be speaking on the spiritual fatherhood of the priest, and there will be time for Q&A. In this workshop, Fr. Philippe will develop this theme in a more practical way, focusing on how to encourage this grace of fatherhood in each priest.

Jacques Philippe is a priest and member of the Community of the Beatitudes in France. He studied theology and canon law in Rome. He devotes himself to preaching retreats, giving missions, and writing books.

Workshop 2: Demonic Affliction: What Seminaries Need to Know?

Rev. Dennis McManus

Fr McManus will offer a three-part presentation on demonic affliction — what it is, how it occurs and how Vocation Directors and Seminary faculties need to respond to it. A first look will be given to identifying involvement in any form of the demonic, witchcraft or the occult in the Seminary application process. Second is an outline of how to integrate into a Seminary curriculum what parish priests need to know for this part of their ministry. A final reflection will center on the work of spiritual directors on how to spot and address the presence of the demonic in the spiritual lives of their directees.

Dennis McManus is a priest of the Archdiocese of Mobile in Alabama. From 1997-2006, he worked as Associate Director of the Secretariat for the Liturgy at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC. Pope John Paul II named him as consultor and theologian to the newly established Vox Clara commission of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on which he has served since 2001; Pope Benedict XVI then appointed Fr. McManus as consultant to the Congregation itself in 2010 and then as peritus to the Vox Clara commission. He has taught as professor of liturgy at Conception Abbey Seminary, the Dominican House of Studies, Dunwoodie Seminary and now at St. John the Evangelist Seminary in Boston. Fr. McManus has written widely on liturgical topics, but specialized in the application of translation theory to the Roman Rite, and in the development of the Rites of Exorcism. Fr. McManus served as pastoral coordinator for the Archdiocese of New York in deliverance and exorcism ministry from 2009-2011. He is also the USCCB consultant for Jewish Affairs and member of both the Vatican-Baptist dialogue (2007-20012) and the USCCB-Reform Churches dialogue which issued its historic joint agreement on the form and recognition of baptism (2012). He was general editor of Paulist Press’ Ancient Christian Writers Series from 1994-2007 and translation editor of Varsity Press’ Ancient Christian Commentary from 1995-1998 . Fr. McManus has taught courses in theology, medieval literature, classical languages and Jewish studies for over 40 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in classical languages and philosophy from St. Mary’s College of California; a master’s degree in historical ethics from Georgetown University and a doctorate in patristics from Drew University. He serves as Professor in the department of Jewish civilization at Georgetown University and Professor of systematic theology at Mt. St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg

Workshop 3: How to Weave Together Discernment Groups with Come & See Visits: Noting Differences in Approach with Anglo and Hispanic discerners

Rev. Victor Ingalls

A Discernment group can be a great first step for a young man to take in his consideration of the priesthood. However, getting him there in the first place and it being a helpful experience is a whole other art form! A Come and See Visit to a seminary can be a powerful second or third step in a man’s discernment. But the kind of experience he has on that visit can make all the difference in the world! Add on top of that the differences that exist culturally when dealing with an Anglo discerner and a Hispanic discerner and you might feel your head start to spin. Fr. Victor Ingalls of Mobile, AL will share what he has found to be effective ways to approach these discernment tools during his past four years of experience as Vocations Director.

Victor Ingalls grew up in Montgomery, AL. He attended Furman University in Greenville, SC. Upon graduation, Fr. Victor entered seminary for the Archdiocese of Mobile. He spent two years in Philadelphia at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and then four years at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.  Fr. Victor was ordained on June 2, 2012 in Mobile and has since served as the Associate Pastor for two years at both St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Auburn and then Christ the King Parish in Daphne. In August of 2016, he began as the full time Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Mobile. This has included being the Vocations Promoter as well as the Director of Seminarians. Fr. Victor has served on the NCDVD Executive Board as a Member-at-Large.

Workshop 4: Forming Men for the Priesthood in the Age of Entitlement and Suspicion of Authority

Bishop Thomas Daly

Having served in various roles, such as Vocation Director, President of a Catholic High School, Interim Rector of St. Patrick Seminary, 6 -year member of the USCCB Committee for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, and now Bishop of Spokane, Bishop Daley is well qualified to speak into this topic of Priesthood in the Age of Entitlement and Suspicion of Authority.  Bishop Daly will offer pastoral insight and practical approaches pulling from his personal and rich experiences of Seminary Formation.

Bishop Thomas Daly was born April 30, 1960, in San Francisco. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of San Francisco in 1982; a master of divinity from St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, California, in 1987; and a master of education degree from Boston College in 1996. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of San Francisco in 1987. Bishop Daly has served as the Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, serving concurrently as President of Marin Catholic High School. Bishop Daly also served as interim Rector of St. Patrick’s Seminary and University in Menlo Park, CA, as well as, a member of the US Bishop’s Committee for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.  Bishop Daly served as Epicopal Liaison for NCDVD on behalf of the Bishop’s conference for six years and is a sitting member of the NCDVD Episcopal Advisory Board.

Workshop 5: How to Run a Retreat

Rev. Kyle Manno

Discernment retreats offer opportunities to invite discerners to deepen their relationship with Christ by strengthening their prayer life, thus over time, allowing them to hear the voice of God clearer and stronger in their lives. In this workshop Fr. Manno will introduce some approaches on how best to organize and run retreats which can inspire vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

Kyle Manno was ordained in 2016 as a priest for the Diocese of Rockford. He is the Vocation director for the Diocese as well as Pastor of Christ the Teacher University Parish, the Newman Center at Northern Illinois University. Father is also the founder of More Cake Please, Not-for-Profit, a media outlet that creates content to promote the Gospel.

Workshop 6: Best Practices for Formation in lite of Covid-19

Rev. Brian Buettner

Formation in Isolation: Best Practices to Keep Seminarians Growing during the Pandemic. The pandemic created a lot of challenges for our seminarians as they were sent home to isolate and quarantine. This workshop will look at the best practices to support your seminarians when they are isolated and to keep the important work of priestly formation moving forward while outside of the formal seminary structure.

Rev. Brian Buettner graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Biomedical Science and minored in History and Chemistry in 2006. He completed the Pre-Theology Program at Conception Seminary College in 2009, received a STB from the Gregorian University in 2012, and a STL in Moral Theology and Bioethics from the Angelicum University in 2016. After his priestly ordination in 2013, he served as the parochial vicar of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in OKC and was chaplain of Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School. He has also served as the pastor of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and St. Mary’s Catholic School in Lawton, Oklahoma and is currently the pastor of St. Joseph’s Old Cathedral and Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. Fr.Buettner currently serves as a Member-at-Large on the NCDVD Executive Board.


Workshop 1: Keeping up with Prospects and Discernment during Covid

Rev. Edwin Leonard

In an ever more complex digital and virtual world, as we are busier than ever with perhaps multiple assignments it is essential that we maintain contact with prospectives throughout their varying stages of discernment. This session will discuss best practices on how to track the progress and stay up to date with individual descerners and prospectives throughout their initial contact, development of relationship stage, and eventual formal application process. We will discuss the theory behind these strategies and the practical implementation within your Vocations program.

Ordained in 2012 by Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell for the Diocese of Dallas, Rev.. Edwin Leonard served his first two years of priesthood as the Parochial Vicar at St. Rita Catholic Church. In July 2014 he was assigned as the Director of Vocations. The past 5 years and under Fr. Leonard’s direction the diocese has accepted over 80 new seminarians. In addition to Vocation work he was appointed in 2018 as Chaplain of Bishop Lynch Catholic High School and currently serves on the Executive Board for the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors, first as a Member-at-Large and now as Vice_President. His work with the National Evangelization Team (NET) from 2003-2005 helped develop his ability to promote the Gospel with devotion. Fr. Leonard is a graduate of Franciscan University.

Workshop 2: Finances for Seminarians: College Debt, Stipends, Budgeting

Rev. Neal Hock

Building a culture of vocations has many challenging aspects. One area that is often overlooked that can relieve stress and create opportunity is the yearly budget.  Large diocese, small diocese, affluent and lower income – the principals are the same.  Learn practical tips that can make building a culture of vocation reasonable and attainable – even in the new reality we find ourselves in due to the pandemic.  . Neal Hock, serves as  treasurer for the NCDVD Executive Board and holds a BSBA in accounting will guide the discussion which will quickly and practically assist this important aspect of the vocation office.

Neal Hock grew up on a family farm in southwest Nebraska. He received a BSBA in Accounting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  He worked as an accountant for 5 years prior to entering Seminary for the diocese of Grand Island. Ordained in 2011, he is beginning his 7th year as vocation director and Newman Center chaplain.  He is also now director of the permanent diaconate in Grand Island and is serving as Treasurer on the NCDVD Executive Board.

Workshop 3: Integrating the Vocation Director into Seminary Formation

Bishop David Toups

With many years of experience in seminary formation, Bishop David Toups has collaborated with several dioceses and many more vocations directors. His conference, “Integrating the Vocations Director into seminary formation,” will address a key relationship in the life of a seminarian, his vocations director and the seminary formation team. His conference will provide insight into the dynamics, clarity of roles and expectations, tips for healthy relationships and ways to build rapport and trust which mutually benefit the seminary process and the sponsoring diocese.

Bishop-elect Toups, who grew up in Houma, Louisiana, most recently served as Rector/President for St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida. Bishop-elect Toups is the youngest of three children and spent most of his youth in Houma, Louisiana. His family relocated to Clearwater, Florida, when he was a junior in high school. He graduated from St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami.  Bishop Toups’s theological studies were pursued at the Pontifical North American College in Rome while attending the Pontifical Gregorian University. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 14, 1997, for the Diocese of St. Petersburg.  He has served as both a pastor and a professor for seminarians as well as serving for several years in Washington with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops prior to becoming rector at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary. Bishop Toups’s is an international presenter and accomplished writer authoring two books:  Reclaiming Our Priestly Character and The Priests We Need: A Rector Speaks to His Seminarians.  He speaks both Spanish and Italian.

Workshop 4: Camp Quo Vadis

Rev. Christopher Sullivan

Rev. Christopher Sullivan will discuss how Camp Quo Vadis, a week-long summer camp for teens, has created friendships open and excited about discernment. The talk will discuss best practices for Quo Vadis camps/days, how to collect and use data to identify discerners, and how to use the Quo Vadis name as a brand for future vocation events.

Ordained in 2017 for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Rev. Christopher. Sullivan has served as the Director of Camp Quo Vadis for three years. Camp Quo Vadis is a week-long diocesan summer camp for teens. Each summer the camp has operated at max capacity and in addition to identifying and inspiring discerners, it has led to a renewal of diocesan holy hours, men’s discernment retreats, and even a new female discernment retreat. Fr. Sullivan served for three years as the curate of Our Lady of Victory Parish, Floral Park and for two years as the Chaplain of Adelphi University, and is now beginning a new assignment at St. Rose of Lima Parish, Massapequa.


Workshop 5: Seminarian Handbook: An Aid to growth in Virtue and Accountability

Rev. Paul Sullivan

In our day, we form young men who are unlike prior generations. The men we help form are raised in a technology saturated world with less tendency to have had jobs and such experiences that bring forth the virtues and confidence that such experiences bring. Christ desires to offer these virtues in each man called to the priesthood; and their time working with the Office of Vocations can help to fill such gaps. The Seminarian Handbook and the Vocation Director’s communication of it can be a place where the magnanimous vision of the Church for the holiness of a young man called to the priesthood can be presented with encouragement. When clearly defined expectations for their growth in the four dimensions of formation are made, certain pitfalls can be avoided and the work of the Vocation Director can be spared of minutia.

Paul Sullivan grew up in New York in a family of eight children. He attended the State University of New York at Albany where he earned a degree in accounting. After working for the firms of PriceWaterhouseCoopers and KPMG in New York and Phoenix respectively as a CPA, he entered formation at Saint Meinrad Seminary in preparation for ordination in 2007. Since then Fr. Sullivan has served as a parochial vicar, director of a retreat center, high school chaplain and pastor. Since 2008, he has served as Director of Vocations for the diocese and for the past 6 years has served as Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Phoenix. He is also the founding Rector of the Nazareth House Seminary which opened in Phoenix in 2019. He also serves on the staff of the Institute for Priestly Formation in their spiritual formation certificate program for priests.

Jerilyn Rost

Rev. Austin Gilstrap

Workshop 6: Website and Social Media Presence

Rev. Austin Gilstrap and Jerilyn Rost

Just about every Office of Vocations in the country has a website, Facebook page, Twitter Account, and perhaps even a YouTube Channel. Yet, most Directors and Vocations Office staff still struggle to find the next steps in reaching out to the young men in our communities, effectively remaining relevant in an ever-changing media landscape. In this workshop, Fr. Gilstrap and Jerilyn will walk through some ideas, methodology, best practices, and pitfalls that they have discovered over the last two years as they have developed NashVocations.org as a platform for discernment rather than a simple informational website for the Office of Vocations. “Guiding the “Heroes” is not meant to be an introduction in building a Website or “beginners guide” to Social Media but rather an interactive working group intent on finding the most effective ways to use current technology to meet young men “where they are” and aid them in hearing the call of Our Lord to offer their lives through His Priesthood. If you are looking to take the next step and venture out into the new “agora” of online Vocations promotion or if you would be able to add to the conversation through your own experiences, please join us for our workshop at the NCDVD convention this year.

Jerilyn Rost  grew up in the heart of Michigan, where she attended catholic school. She completed her high school years in the Chicago area, where she fell in love with musical performance. That love of performance and music brought her to travel in the international performance group, Up With People, where she immersed herself in community service, performance and cultural enrichment opportunities.   She attended the University of Tennessee and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Judaic Studies. After working for more than 14 years in Business Management, Sales and Marketing in both the non-profit and for-profit worlds, Jerilyn found her way to the Diocese of Nashville in its chancery office. Jerilyn then moved to the parish side of the diocese as the business manager for two parishes in and a Catholic School. Throughout her time working in the parishes, she was blessed to work alongside several wonderful priests, as well as seminarians assigned to the parishes in the summer. Jerilyn transitioned back to the chancery in her role as Vocations Office Coordinator in 2018, where she continues her work today. As part of her work, Jerilyn has produced media that has earned a prestigious Addy award, a Communicator Award of Excellence and was named this year’s Video Producer of the Year by Catholic Press Association’s 2020 CPA Awards. Jerilyn is married to her husband Craig, and together they have three children, McKenna (14), Canon (9) and Emmerson (8). When she is not working, you will find her at some sports field or gym, cheering on her children, and in a non-covid world, she would be spending time with her friends and family trying out the latest addition to the Nashville restaurant scene. Jerilyn and her family have been active members of St. Ann Catholic Church for over 20 years and looks forward to being active in her parish once again.

Fr. Gilstrap has served the Diocese of Nashville as a priest for 5 years and throughout his time as a priest he has been involved in Vocations work. He has also served as Priest secretary for Bishop David Choby and as a Teacher and Chaplain at Pope John Paul II high school. Over the last two years Father Gilstrap has been the Director of Vocations and Director of the Permanent Deacon Formation Program for the Diocese of Nashville and recently has been named as Pastor of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Hendersonville Tennessee.