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Vocare Institute “BOOT CAMP”

for diocesan vocation personnel

4-DAY INSTITUTE FOR NOVICES

Friday, August 23 – Monday, August 26, 2024

The Vocare Institute provides education, formation and community to those entrusted with the Sacred Ministry of Vocations. Participants are introduced into the foundational elements of accompanying men as they navigate, respond to and fulfill the call of God in their lives. It is created to benefit: new vocation directors, new vocation personnel, seminary formators and formation staff. It also serves as an excellent refresher for those already working within vocations ministry. The Vocare Institute walks participants through three major components of vocations ministry: outreach, discernment, and care of seminarians. Content which is covered includes but is not limited to: introduction to recruiting, assessing, and mentoring candidates for priesthood, understanding your office, organizing your office plans for administration, vocational discernment, formation, psychological guidelines, Canon Law and how it applies to vocation work, youth activities and fostering relationships with key players (i.e. parents, discerners, church and school personnel). 
 
The Vocare Institute includes videos which are accessible as needed and works in concert with the workshops offered later during the National Convention.

Rev. Chuck Dornquast

Fr. Chuck was born and raised in the small town of Zephyrhills near Tampa, FL. His practice of the faith began after his family experienced the generosity of his local parish. He entered St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami, FL immediately following High School. He then attended St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, FL and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of St. Petersburg on May 16, 2015. He served 4 years as the associate pastor of St. Lawrence in Tampa where he also became the team priest for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 2019 he was appointed Director of Vocations, serving as both vocations promoter and director of seminarians. He currently serves as Vice-President on the executive board for the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors.

Rev. Neal Hock

Fr. Neal Hock grew up on a family farm in southwest Nebraska. He received a BSBA in Accounting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and worked as an accountant for 5 years before entering the Seminary for the Diocese of Grand Island. He was ordained in 2011 and has over ten years of experience as a vocation director. Currently, Father Neal serves as the pastor of St. Teresa of Calcutta Newman Center and is serving as the Treasurer on the NCDVD Executive Board.

Rev. Eric Augenstein

Fr. Eric Augenstein serves as Director of Seminarians for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and Pastor of Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Church in Indianapolis. He is also Secretary on the NCDVD Executive Board. Active in diocesan vocations ministry since 2013, first as Vocation Director and then as Director of Seminarians, he has also served in support roles for NCYC, SEEK, and other local and national Catholic Ministries. Since 2016, he has served as Director of Liturgy for the One Bread, One Cup youth conferences at Saint Meinrad Archabbey and is currently serving on the Liturgy team for the National Eucharistic Congress. A graduate of La Salle University (Philadelphia) and Saint Meinrad Seminary, Fr. Eric was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in 2004.

Rev.​ Blake DuBroc

Fr. Blake Dubroc was raised in a small farming community in Marksville, La. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 2006. In 2008 moved to Lafayette, opened and operated my own Independence insurance agency. He entered Seminary formation at St. Joseph Seminary College in St. Benedict, La and completed bachelors in philosophy in 2014. He earned a Masters in Divinity from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans in 2018. He was ordained a priest of Jesus Christ for the Diocese of Lafayette on June 23, 2018. He spent two years as Parochial Vicar at Sacred Heart in Ville Platte, La, as well as the Religion Administrator for Sacred Heart School where he coached football and baseball. The Bishop appointed him Vocations Director in April of 2020 as well as Parochial Vicar of St. Bernard parish in Breaux Bridge, La. He currently resides at St. Bernard and was additionally named Director of Seminarians in July of 2021. Father currently serves as Vice President of NCDVD.

Rev.​ Jordan Dosch

Fr. Jordan Dosch was born and raised in Bismarck, North Dakota. After one year of college, pursuing an engineering degree at North Dakota State University, he entered St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, graduating in 2013 with a degree in Philosophy and Catholic Studies. After graduation, he began his theological studies at the North American College in Rome. There he earned a STB degree and began the Licentiate in Moral Theology from the Angelicum. He was ordained a priest in 2017. His first assignment was as a teacher and chaplain at Trinity High School, as well as associate pastor at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Dickinson, North Dakota. In 2020 he was assigned as Vocation Director for the Diocese of Bismarck. For 2021-2022 he was also an administrator of three small parishes in the Diocese. He graduated from the Institute for Priestly Formation’s Spiritual Direction Training Program in 2024. Father currently serves as a Member-At-Large for the NCDVD Executive Board

Dr. Christina McShane

Nazareth Seminary in Phoenix, Arizona

Dr. Christina McShane is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in Phoenix, Arizona. Her training included special emphasis on the integration of Psychology and a Catholic anthropology of the person. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville and her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from the Institute for Psychological Sciences at Divine Mercy University. Dr. McShane works at the Nazareth Seminary in Phoenix, Arizona, where she has provided counseling to seminarians and consultation to the vocations and formation team for the past five years. She also works in private practice where she provides therapy to individuals, families, and groups. She is particularly interested in building a healthier culture in the Church and enjoys offering consultation and workshops for priests, religious, and spiritual directors.

The Pre-Convention Workshop

Monday, August 26th, 2024
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

“The Healing of the Mind: Vocations in a New Apostolic Age”

In the midst of a culture that has been consciously ridding itself of its Christian foundations, we have the challenge of seeking out and cultivating those whom Christ is calling to the Catholic Priesthood. In our own age, how can we foster genuine renewal of mind in ourselves and those young men under our care?
 

Monsignor James Patrick Shea

Monsignor James Patrick Shea serves as president of the University of Mary.

Monsignor Shea was inaugurated in 2009 as the sixth president of the university and, at the age of 34, became the youngest college or university president in the United States. He succeeded Sister Thomas Welder, who had served as president for 31 years. The oldest of eight children, Monsignor Shea grew up on a dairy and grain farm near Hazelton, North Dakota, just 38 miles from the University of Mary’s main campus. He began his undergraduate work at Jamestown College, majoring in English and history. He then entered the seminary for the Diocese of Bismarck, earning a bachelor’s degree and a pontifical master’s degree (licentiate) in philosophy at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He studied classical Greek at the University of Texas at Austin and continued at the Vatican’s North American College, studying theology at the Gregorian and Lateran universities in Rome. He has studied management at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business and is also an alumnus of the Institutes for Higher Education at the Graduate School of Education, Harvard University.

Monsignor Shea served with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity at the Gift of Peace AIDS Hospice while teaching religion at two inner-city schools in Washington, D.C. In Rome, he served as chaplain for the Bambino Gesù (Bam-bee-no Jay-soo) Children’s Hospital and also at the Rome campus of the Center for Catholic Studies at the University of Saint Thomas. In 2002, he returned to North Dakota and served as an associate pastor in Bismarck and Mandan. During that time, he was also the chaplain and a teacher at Saint Mary’s Central High School in Bismarck. He then served as pastor to parishes in Killdeer and Halliday (North Dakota), while teaching at Trinity High School in Dickinson.

Monsignor Shea serves on the Boards of Directors for Saint John Vianney Seminary in Denver, Relevant Radio, the Association of Benedictine Colleges and Universities, and the Northern Sun Conference of the NCAA. He has been a member of the National Advisory Council to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. For the State of North Dakota, he has served on the Governor’s Commission on Education Improvement and the Attorney General’s Task Force on Human Trafficking. Monsignor served as chairman of the Catholic Identity Committee on the Board of Directors for FOCUS: the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, and he is a Knight Commander of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

Deeply committed to the education and formation of young people, Monsignor Shea is a priest of the Diocese of Bismarck.

TUESDAY WORKSHOPS

Tuesday, August 27, 2024
Morning Workshops 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Workshop #1 (Level 202)

Human and Psychological Issues in Seminary Today

There is growing focus on the need for seminarians to have a strong human foundation, including self-knowledge and emotional and relational maturity. This talk will discuss some of the most common human and psychological issues observed in seminary today, and ways vocations directors can respond.

Presenter: Dr. Christina McShane

Dr. Christina McShane is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in Phoenix, Arizona. Her training included special emphasis on the integration of Psychology and a Catholic anthropology of the person. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville and her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from the Institute for Psychological Sciences at Divine Mercy University. Dr. McShane works at the Nazareth Seminary in Phoenix, Arizona, where she has provided counseling to seminarians and consultation to the vocations and formation team for the past five years. She also works in private practice where she provides therapy to individuals, families, and groups. She is particularly interested in building a healthier culture in the Church and enjoys offering consultation and workshops for priests, religious, and spiritual directors.

Workshop #2 (Level 201)

The Called By Name Program

The Called by Name Program is a vocation promotion initiative, which can be done in a parish and led by the pastor. This program invites men and women, 15 years of age or older, to consider a vocation as a priest, sister, brother or deacon. The Called by Name program works by inviting parishioners to submit names of potential candidates from their respective parishes. Upon approval of the parish staff, persons nominated will be invited to discernment events with their parish priest. Participants will learn about each of the possible vocations which the Church is inviting them to discern and will have the opportunity to seek answers to their questions and be invited to explore the discernment process further.

Presenter: Rev. Jordan Dosch

Fr. Jordan Dosch was born and raised in Bismarck, North Dakota. After one year of college, pursuing an engineering degree at North Dakota State University, he entered St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, graduating in 2013 with a degree in Philosophy and Catholic Studies. After graduation, he began his theological studies at the North American College in Rome. There he earned a STB degree and began the Licentiate in Moral Theology from the Angelicum. He was ordained a priest in 2017. His first assignment was as a teacher and chaplain at Trinity High School, as well as associate pastor at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Dickinson, North Dakota. In 2020 he was assigned as Vocation Director for the Diocese of Bismarck. For 2021-2022 he was also an administrator of three small parishes in the Diocese. He graduated from the Institute for Priestly Formation’s Spiritual Direction Training Program in 2024. Father currently serves as a Member-At-Large for the NCDVD Executive Board

Workshop #3 (Level 301)

Personal and Spiritual Health for the Vocation Director

The workshop will help vocation directors be conscious of the Lord’s care in the midst of the demands of vocation work.  God helps us to live responsibly, and he sustains us in the ministry he has entrusted to us.  The perennial temptation is to overlook our humanity or to go beyond what the Lord asks of us.

Presenter: Rev. James Rafferty

Fr. Jim Rafferty was ordained in 1994 in the Diocese of Scranton.  He has served in high school and college chaplaincy, seminary formation, and vocation work.  Currently he is an incardinated priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha as a professed member of the Priests of Saint Joseph.  He serves full-time with the Institute for Priestly Formation in programs, retreats, and spiritual direction.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS

Tuesday, August 27, 2024
Afternoon Workshops 2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

SESSION I – Best Practices for Small Dioceses

During this facilitated conversation, (by a brother Vocation Director), our aim is to bring together vocation personnel from similar sized dioceses to discuss the application of best practices in vocation ministry. Sharing experiences, strategies, effective efforts for approaching common challenges and lessons learned, (what has worked and what has failed), will aid us in understanding how not to reinvent the wheel but rather build on the success of other vocation teams.

The criteria for determining the size of your diocese is determined by the participant who can freely select which of these conversations to join.

SESSION II – Best Practices for Medium Arch/Dioceses

During this facilitated conversation, (by a brother Vocation Director), our aim is to bring together vocation personnel from similar sized dioceses to discuss the application of best practices in vocation ministry. Sharing experiences, strategies, effective efforts for approaching common challenges and lessons learned, (what has worked and what has failed), will aid us in understanding how not to reinvent the wheel but rather build on the success of other vocation teams.

The criteria for determining the size of your diocese is determined by the participant who can freely select which of these conversations to join.

SESSION III – Best Practices for Large Arch/Dioceses

During this facilitated conversation, (by a brother Vocation Director), our aim is to bring together vocation personnel from similar sized dioceses to discuss the application of best practices in vocation ministry. Sharing experiences, strategies, effective efforts for approaching common challenges and lessons learned, (what has worked and what has failed), will aid us in understanding how not to reinvent the wheel but rather build on the success of other vocation teams.

The criteria for determining the size of your diocese is determined by the participant who can freely select which of these conversations to join.

THURSDAY MORNING WORKSHOPS

Thursday, August 29, 2024
Morning Workshops 10:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Workshop #1 (Level 101)

Omega to Alpha: Understanding the New Generation of Young

Young adults and teenagers are rapidly changing with each successive generation appearing more different than the one that preceding it. As youth culture morphs and shifts, our methods for evangelization, discipleship, and formation must also adapt. This engaging and empowering session offers a brief snapshot of Gen Z and Generation Alpha, methods for outreach and discipleship, and hope for the young Church in the United States.

Presenter: Mr. Joel Stepanek

Joel Stepanek has been actively and passionately involved in ministry for 20 years as a youth minister at several parishes, Vice President of Parish Services at Life Teen, and currently serves as Vice President of Programming and Administration at the National Eucharist Congress. He is a sought-after speaker who has traveled across the world speaking to groups of all sizes, ages, and vocations. Joel is the author of several books, including  “Beginning Well: Seven Spiritual Practices for the First Year of Almost Anything,” “Chasing Humility: 8 Ways to Shape a Christian Heart,” and “True North: A Roadmap for Discernment.”

 

Workshop #2 (Level 101)

Discernment 180

This workshop will give an overview of Discernment 180, share the fruits that it has borne in the Diocese of Austin, and offer ways to use it effectively. Discernment 180is a 6-month guide to discern the priesthood. Somewhat like Exodus 90, it outlines a rule of life, provides daily reflections to pray with for 180 days, and prescribes effective actions for discerners to take. Of the 23 seminarians that joined the Diocese of Austin this year, 14 used Discernment 180 to discern the priesthood.

Presenter: Rev. Greg Gerhart

Fr. Greg Gerhart is the Vocation Director of the Diocese of Austin. He heard his vocation to the priesthood at the age of 14 when attending a week of summer camp at the Pines Catholic Camp. Before entering seminary, he graduated from Texas A&M in 2009. Fr. Greg attended seminary at St. Joseph Seminary College in Louisiana and the North American College in Rome, and he was ordained to the priesthood on July 9, 2016. Since being ordained, Fr. Greg has finished an STL in Moral Theology from the Angelicum, served as Associate Pastor of San Jose in Austin and St. Mary’s in College Station, and he has served as the Vocation Director for four years.
 
He has over 15 years of administrative experience in various health care settings including Beaumont at Bryn Mawr in Bryn Mawr, PA, and HCR Manor Care in Pottstown, PA. David received his BSN from York College of Pennsylvania and maintains his RN license through the State of Pennsylvania.

Workshop #3 (Level 301)

Forming Pastor Supervisors with PPG

Pastoral formation depends in great measure on the quality of supervision” (PPF, 371). This workshop will present practical materials, assessments, and tools for equipping pastors and their pastoral staffs to provide ‘quality supervision’ for seminarians and transitional deacons.

Presenter: Rev. Andrew Turner

Rev. Andrew Turner was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio, in 2006 and currently serves as President-Rector of Borromeo Seminary and Saint Mary Seminary, in Cleveland. Before becoming a priest, Father Turner graduated from Ohio University in 1998 with a B.S. in Organizational Communication and spent several years as a consultant for Ernst & Young, LLP.  After ordination he served in two parish assignments before being appointed Vice-Rector and Dean of Students for Borromeo Seminary and Director of Pastoral Field Education for Saint Mary Seminary. He holds a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, and a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.). In 2022, Fr. Turner was invited to serve for five months in Washinton, D.C. as a consultant to the USCCB on the implementation of the Program for Priestly Formation, sixth edition.  Father Turner has published articles on seminary formation in several professional journals, received grant awards totaling over one million dollars for his work in seminary formation, and is the developer of the seminary’s innovative online portfolio system, Percorso (www.percorso.app). For leisure, Father Turner enjoys travel, sailing, kayaking, whitewater rafting, hiking, and skydiving.

THURSDAY AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS

Thursday, August 29, 2024
Afternoon Workshops 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. 

Workshop #1 (Level 101)

Being Inconvenienced: How Vocation Directors and Seminary Formators work together as loving fathers

The relationship between vocation directors and seminary formators must be characterized by each party’s readiness to be inconvenienced for the well-being of seminarians.  Saint John Bosco’s preventive system of education encourages those in the work of formation to put seminarians in a situation where they cannot do wrong.  This requires the regular presence of vocation directors and seminary formators “who like loving fathers will converse with them, act as guides in every event, counsel them and lovingly correct them” (Don Bosco). Although demanding, when embraced by vocation directors and formators, trust will be established (PPF 6, 101).  This workshop will explore the important communication that should exist between vocation directors and formators for the growth of seminarians.  We will discuss how seminaries can create a fraternal home for vocation directors and bishops and how to keep them connected to the seminary’s culture when not physically present.  Finally, we will look at vocation director visits, particularly how to maintain formational relationships of trust when discussing seminarians and sharing formational areas for growth.

Presenter: Rev. Luke Strand

Fr. Luke Strand was born and raised in Dousman, WI. In 2003, Fr. Strand entered Saint Francis de Sales Seminary to begin priestly studies or the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He was ordained a priest in 2009. Fr. Strand spent his first three years of priesthood as a pastor in solidum of Holy Family Parish in Fond du Lac. In 2012 Archbishop Listecki asked Fr. Strand to serve as Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He immediately started the Saint JPII House of Discernment at St. Robert Parish, which to date, over half of Milwaukee’s seminarians have lived, and has provided a model which many dioceses throughout the country have followed. A time of growth for Fr. Strand was his year-long battle with stage 3 colorectal cancer. In 2016, he was asked to serve as Vice-Rector and Director of Human Formation at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary while retaining his responsibilities as Vocation Director. Fr. Strand was recently installed as the 20th Rector of Saint Francis de Sales Seminary.

Workshop #2 (Level 201)

Topic: From What is Seen to What is Unseen: Lifting the Weight of Discernment

There were many men who pleaded with Jesus to follow him, but were not invited; instead, they were told to go home to their family and friends.  Likewise, there are many men today who desire to follow Jesus as priests, but is Jesus inviting them?  Often, a man’s discernment is based on some intellectual matching-up of what a priest does and how it lines up with his own gifts.  Other times it is based on a feeling he has had since his youth or the result of a powerful conversion and desire to give Jesus everything.  These men possess all the gifts, qualities and have the desire, so it’s tempting to hand them an application based on what is seen.  Yet, the question remains, is Jesus inviting him or is the man inviting himself to the priesthood?  How do we help a man to put aside his abilities and desires, to set aside his ego, and discover what is unseen within him where Jesus’ invitation is truly found.  In helping a man discover Jesus’ unseen invitation, the weight of discernment, the task of putting all the pieces together, is lifted off the man’s shoulders and is handed back to the one who says, “Come, Follow me!”

Presenter: Rev. Michael Isenberg

Fr. Isenberg is a native of Buffalo, NY, and his family moved to the Diocese of Arlington when he was four. He received a degree in Computer Engineering from Virginia Tech and worked as a consultant for a few years before applying to seminary. He studied at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and the Pontifical North American College, and was ordained a priest in 2013.

In the last six years as Vocation Director for the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, Fr. Michael Isenberg has overseen the ordination of 30 priests, 51 men entering seminary formation. The flourishing of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life in the Diocese of Arlington can be attributed to the Culture of Vocations that has been cultivated and refined over the last 20 years. In a world of screens and virtual relationships, Fr. Isenberg is grateful to build personal relationships with countless young men, deepening their spiritual life to know the heart of Jesus, and helping them to courageously respond to what God is doing within.

Workshop #3 (Level 301)

Dios llama: in the context of Pastoral Hispana

This workshop wants to encourage participants to know where young latinos are, what are they looking for, where are they seeking God in the context of Hispanic Ministry, Ecclesial Movements and Pastoral Juvenil. We will look at the National Pastoral Plan For Hispanic/Latino Ministry 2023 and the strategies it proposes regarding Vocations and the creative hope to increase the numbers of those who respond to “la llamada.”A Dios rogando y con el mazo dando” is a very common saying among hispanics, it means  “To God praying and with the gavel giving.” Through this workshop we will do both, we will also know more about strategies and practical ways to work in the increase of vocations. 

Presenter: Olga Lucia Villar, D.Min

Colombian by birth, she immigrated with her family to Miami in 1987 when she was a teenager. She has made America her second land and has continued to grow and become a person through studies (BA, MA, and D. Min at Barry University; Diploma in Hispanic Ministry from Boston College; Diploma in Youth Ministry at the Center for Development), missionary experiences as a Claretian Missionary Sister (Cuba, Mexico, India 1991-2012), experiences at WYD (Canada 2002, Germany 2005, Spain 2011), work in parishes (Corpus Christi,  Miami, FL, Our Lady Queen of Peace, Delray Beach, FL St. Timothy, Miami, FL; Immaculate Conception in Hialeah, FL; Santa Juliana, West Palm Beach, FL, Mission Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mayo, FL; St. Lazarus, Hialeah, FL, St. Catherine, Mobile, AL) jobs in schools or colleges (St. Agatha, Miami, FL; St Hugh, Coconut Grove, FL, St Philomena College, Mysore, India; SEPI, Miami, FL); She worked in a diocese (Director of Hispanic Ministry for the Archdiocese of Mobile, AL) regional experience (Represented Region V for NCADDHM 2014-2017; Coordination Region V during V Encuentro process 2016-2017) and is currently Executive Director of the Regional Office of the Bishops of the Southeast United States for Hispanic Ministry and also of SEPI: Southeast Pastoral Institute.

Her best definition of herself: In love with Jesus and his Church….