Tag Archives: Vocations

Big Man On Campus

photoFather David Hasser has gone back to school! Well, sort of. Now that the universities are back in session, he has returned to making his campus rounds. What does he do on campus? Grab a Purvis burger at TripleXXX, go to football games? Some of that, but with a greater and higher purpose. I recently interviewed him in order to find out what it is that he does and why it is important for the Office for Vocations.

Father generally spends the weekends in Muncie at the St. Francis Newman Center at Ball State. Then, he makes the trek down to Indiana University on Tuesday, sometimes passing through the southern parishes of the diocese, Marian University and/or IUPUI. He stays overnight at the Newman Center Rectory at IU, then travels north again, this time heading to Purdue for the rest of the week. It’s a lot of driving (about 7-8 hours a week) but he uses this time to pray or for formation through audio sources. Before he even gets to campus, he has his work cut out for him.

Making contacts with students and setting up individual and group activities or meetings is the bulk of his “homework” before hitting the campus scene. He does this so that he can build relationships with the students and to be an available presence in order to encourage them and help them in their vocation discernment. Much of this is done around the Newman Centers on campus but isn’t limited to what is available there. In fact, much of his work needs to be done through social media. Students today are very plugged in and it is important that the Office for Vocations is present online as well.

Even though the social media tool is a significant part of reaching out, a personal relationship counts even more. Father is available to the students in order that he can build these friendships to connect and understand them in their daily experiences and discernment processes. These relationships are built through the activities on campus—yes, even grabbing a burger at a local hangout on occasion. Getting out of the office aids to focus on the individual, to break out of the stereotypes or presumptions that people have about religious life or priesthood, to get to real conversation about vocations, beyond what is available in a pamphlet. In fact, many of our current seminarians accredit their personal relationship with the Vocations Director, past and present, and/or other seminarians for their discernment towards beginning seminary. Father aims at being relatable to the students, while always professional in keeping with his priestly office.

While it’s not always possible to meet with each student individually, this time on campus and Father Hasser’s presence at activities at least lends itself to having familiarity with him, “a face with the name”, for when young men and women have questions about their vocation. It seems to be common that the young people often begin to discern when they are away from home and the comforts of their home parish and home activities. Many people don’t go to their childhood pastors with questions of discernment—it seems that this is a relationship that almost has to be rebuilt or re-established to allow breathing room for their discernment and for active discussion. Often the Vocations Director helps with this by his availability and openness, his presence on campus where the person is undergoing a process of self-discovery while away from home. Often Father Hasser encourages the young person discerning to reconnect with the priest at his or her home parish who has known him or her for a longer time.

I asked Father about the short and long-term goals of these campus visits. He said that the short-term goal is to increase the number of students from our Diocese that he can meet and with whom he can build relationships. The long-term goal is to help the priests in our Diocese actively invest in their college-aged parishioners who are away. So far he sees that the visits have borne fruit, in that relationships have been established, seeds are planted and nurtured, discernment is occurring. He is also helping with education, catechesis and awareness about joyful vocations.

A final thought that Father Hasser added was about discernment in general. He said that our human nature desires to understand the reality in which we live: we desire to understand who we are, where we come from, where we are going, what our gifts and talents are and how the Lord invites us to make ourselves a gift for others through words and deeds. Discernment is the activity of asking these questions of the Lord and seeking answers that will enlighten our perspective on life. He says that discernment is deeply personal and revealing of our inmost being. It requires a lot of vulnerability and courage, adventure and stamina, assets and forfeitures. When young people finally want to ask for help and guidance in their discernment, they will first look for a relationship in which they can put their trust. A relationship of virtuous trust isn’t something that is readily available or bought, rather something that is shown and proven through time in tangible ways. The activities and schedule that Father Hasser follows is an attempt to show this to the students, to prove his virtuous trustworthiness to as many of our potential discerners as possible. That is why he does what he does.

As a final note, there is something that YOU can do to aid Father Hasser on his campus visits. Encourage the college students from your parish to be actively involved in the Catholic communities on campus and to even find Father Hasser. It is often easy for the young people to slip through the cracks and become inactive while at college, due to many other academic and social commitments and activities. We, as a community, desire that none be lost. You may give a contact email to Father Hasser so that he can try to meet up with the student and visit with them while on campus, or give Father’s email: frhasser@priestforever.org to students while they are off at the university. And of course, prayer is always helpful too! Thank you in advance for your help in this important ministry!

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September 22, 2013 · 7:12 PM

Seminarian James O’Connor

rsz_fh5anwfjq_d7eivuypkxbjcezfgclo3gpcptrq0c0umSeminarian James O’Connor

St. Joan of Arc, Kokomo, IN

Towards his discernment, James largely attributes prayer, Mass, adoration, as well as SJA/SP’s trip to Italy, visits to both St. Meinrad and Mount St. Mary’s seminaries, and people asking him if he had ever considered the idea of becoming a priest. He was involved in many activities that aided him in his discernment process. Included are various retreats in high school (The Call, Destination Jesus,  JFest, a confirmation retreat at St. Meinrad), and attendance at Christ Renews His Parish at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, both as an attendant and a lay director. He also volunteered at St. Joan of Arc, St. Patrick and OLMC in the youth groups, the Young Adult Conference and the Knights of the Holy Temple.

James mentions four priests in particular that helped his discernment process. Father Brian Doerr: “his leadership and example with the Knights and his belief in me personally throughout high school and college helped me recognize what I should expect of myself”,

Father Ted Dudzinski V.G.: “his presence, strength and wisdom throughout my college years helped me as I struggled to find direction and where I belong in life”,

Father David Hasser: “his presence and capacity to be a strong leader and such a jovial guy at the same time showed me that, though I would be undergoing a great deal of formation over the years, I need not be afraid of losing sight of who I am, while striving to become the best-version-of-myself so to serve God as best I can”, and

Father Richard Doerr: “He and his flock really put the final nail in the coffin with the idea, so-to-speak. 🙂 He helped me refocus and stay focused on what is truly important in life while I was navigating the corporate world”.

Thank you for your decision to begin the journey towards priesthood. Our prayers are with you, James.

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September 1, 2013 · 7:33 PM

Postulant Emmanuela Ohaeri

sdQ-stQDIEebskjK4YYeyJClKqvc8lV81Xtj_U2iGBsMy family emigrated from Nigeria to the United States in 1998. I completed my undergraduate degree in chemistry at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan and moved to West Lafayette to begin my graduate career in the Chemistry Department at Purdue in fall 2008. I received a Master’s degree in December 2011 and continued for a PhD. I officially exited my program in May of 2013 to follow God’s calling to religious life.The journey that led to me realizing my vocation was highly influenced by my involvement at St. Tom’s. I have been extremely blessed to engage in the faith community of St. Tom’s by serving as an Extraordinary Minister, Sacristan, Religious Education Catechist, and Parish Pastoral Council member as well as being involved in CALL 20/30 young adult ministry, Campus Renew, LUM and Family Promise ministries.
I remained very involved in professional/academic chemistry organizations in my department and served as the president of NOBCChE (National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers) in 2011/2012.
In my free time I enjoyed spending time outdoors, going on a hike or walk, or just spending time with friends.
The example and prayers of my parents have truly fostered my vocation most significantly. The faithfulness of my parents and of those God has placed in my path gave me the spiritual community of support to grow in devotion, and the courage to surrender to God’s divine will.

I am excited about all of what is going to happen in this new life! I am excited: to be ‘home’ and united in faith with my Sisters, to enter fully into the life of total self-donation and preoccupation with our Lord, to learn more about the Dominican tradition and our Church, to go out on mission to perhaps teach Chemistry in Catholic Schools and evangelize the youth.

My first year in religious life as a postulant,will comprise of learning the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Church documents, along with the tradition of the Order of Preachers. Everyday is filled with lots of prayer, especially for our families and those who have supported us as donors, some silence and a healthy amount of recreation. The Sisters play all types of sports and are very good by my standards!

Because I have educational debt, my very next steps involve appealing to anyone and everyone for support to help ‘promise off’ my debt in the form of pledges or gifts so that I can actually enter the convent this August. As part of the vow of poverty, a person who enters religious life must be debt-free. Since we take first vows 3 years after the beginning of postulancy, those who make pledges have 3 years to fulfill their promise in affordable monthly payments.
Anyone interested in becoming part of the community of financial supporters of my vocation to religious life, whom I have promised perpetual prayers may visit www.boilervocation.com to learn how to make a contribution.
The best advice I can give to those who may be discerning is do not be afraid. A big step in yielding to the Holy Spirit and responding to one’s vocation is realizing that God’s will is of the greatest good. Additionally, it is very important to live in such a way that you can fully respond to God’s divine call when the time comes. This implies: living with integrity, devotion and excellence in work. Developing good financial habits early and avoiding debt when possible. Essentially being good stewards of the time, talent and treasure God has given us.

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August 27, 2013 · 5:08 PM

Seminarian John Nguyen

rsz_1uf5n_c2gedswntsmvlordgqmk05ieo6isoxueu6nzqsSeminarian John Nguyen

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Carmel, IN

John and his family moved to Indiana in 2000 and joined OLMC. John says that he began to attend daily Mass and holy hours while he was in confirmation classes at OLMC and has been going every day since then. He largely attributes the daily Mass and time set aside in adoration for his discernment. His discernment was mostly an interior one, so most people in his life were not even aware that he was discerning. He says that he was blessed to have Monsignor John Duncan as his spiritual director for several months before he finally decided to enter seminary. Monsignor Duncan and Father Richard Doerr have supported him ever since he began his discernment and without them, he says he would probably not have entered seminary.

Good luck this fall John and we will join our prayers with those at OLMC to support you on your journey!

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August 1, 2013 · 7:54 PM

Postulant Anna Hoefer

Anna Hoefer picI am a parishioner of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  I attended Catholic Schools from Kindergarten through College and then worked as an accountant for four years at PwC in Indianapolis.

Before applying to the convent, I volunteered with the Merciful Help Center, taught second grade Parish Religious Education, served as an EMHC, and was a high school youth minister.  I enjoy baking, traveling, and wine tasting.

My parents, sister, and pastor, Fr. Richard Doerr, all helped me in my discernment.  In addition, there is an online movement called Imagine Sisters that provided information and encouragement as I discerned religious life.

I am most excited about taking more time for prayer and living in community.  I am also excited to go to Germany with many of the sisters in November for the beatification of Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel, the foundress of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration!

[In the next year] Most days of the week I will be waking up early to be in the chapel by 5:25am for morning prayer, the Angelus, and Mass.  After eating breakfast with the postulants and novices, I will then do various chores and attend classes about topics such as Franciscan Spirituality, Religious Life, Scripture, and the foundress of the order.  There is midday prayer, lunch, and more chores and classes.  At 5pm, all the sisters go to the chapel for evening prayer and adoration.  After dinner, the sisters gather for recreation, which means free time that is spent together.  Often, they play board games or go for a walk.  The sisters go to bed pretty early, but take turns getting up throughout the night for Perpetual Adoration with our Lord!

When I started feeling the call to religious life, I had a lot of fear of what this calling might mean and what religious life would look like.  My advice to others who are discerning or haven’t discovered their vocation yet is to spend time in prayer and in the sacraments.  By drawing closer to Christ, you will be able to discern God’s will in all aspects of life.  By allowing God to show you His will in the small things, it will be easier to know his will for your vocation!

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July 29, 2013 · 4:10 PM

Seminarian James Baxter (2017)

IS IT WORTH IT? If you have felt the call of God to seminary, even remotely, you have now two options remaining: only two.  First, you can enter into a fraternity that enables you to more deeply discern God’s will every day. You leave either a priest or a man who has truly discerned his vocation to marriage. Regardless, you leave as a father. In a fatherless culture, this is beyond value. Continue reading

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July 8, 2013 · 2:18 PM

Witness Awakens Vocations

1594712743.jpg.x625FATHER DAVID HASSER

In 2011, we showcased an interview about a national survey of priestly happiness conducted by Monsignor Stephen Rossetti.  That October, I had the opportunity to participate in a Symposium at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. which unveiled and summarized the very healthy data from his study on priestly happiness. Continue reading

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April 22, 2013 · 9:00 AM