St Mary Magdalen clergy are always available to
encourage persons who are reviewing their choices in
life to speak to one of the parish priests here at St
Mary Magdalen. Another option is to go to the Diocesan
Vocation Office and speak to Fr. Gonzalez @
407-246-4875, or Sr. Kathleen Powers @ 407-246-4929. The
Diocese web site is
email@example.com. St Mary Magdalen
Parish pray continually for vocations in the daily and
Sunday Mass intentions. In the school where all of the
parish priests visit the class room frequently and by
participating in Focus 11 each year.
An active way to participate in praying for Vocations
is the Vocation Cup. Each week at a different Sunday
Mass, a host family is invited to take the Vocation Cup
home and pray for Vocations during the day. A DVD is
included in the Vocation Cup Container titled ”Fishers
of Men” which tells the stories of those who have
chosen a religious vocation. Prayers and other material
are also in the container. The family is invited to
write the events of the week in a reflection book and
tell how hosting the Vocation Cup affected their
family. To be a host for the Vocation Cup please call
Rosalie and Andy Winkelman @407-696-8923 or @email -
During the school year, the Vocation Cup is given to a
different class each Wednesday at the Weekly School
Mass. The same items are available for the teacher in
the class to help the children to become aware of the
option of become a priest or a religious.
Article about Vocations
LANDMARK STUDY ON U.S. CATHOLIC VOCATIONS REVEALS
Chicago, Aug. 11, 2009—The demographic composition and
preferred lifestyle of religious communities in the U.S.
are undergoing dramatic changes according to a
first-of-its-kind survey of newer members.
The landmark “Study of Recent Vocations to Religious
Life” was undertaken by the Center for the Applied
Research in the Apostolate (CARA), a Georgetown
University-based research center, on behalf of the
National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC), a
professional association of religious vocation
directors, based in Chicago. The study sought to
determine best practices for religious institutes in
attracting and retaining new members.
Holy Cross Brother Paul Bednarczyk, executive
director of the National Religious Vocation Conference
(NRVC), applauded the findings.
“People of all ages and walks of life continue to
be called to religious life, which is changing with the
times,” he said. “The Church and the world need women
and men religious. Their witness has been the impetus
for social change and spiritual renewal throughout
“Now a new generation of religious men and women
show a renewed appreciation of our Catholic worship,
identity, and communal living. Their witness remains a
vital part of the life of the Church.”
Mercy Sister Mary Bendyna, executive director of
CARA and principal author of the study, called the men
and women religious who participated “a sign of hope for
religious life and the Church.
“They face many challenges and are making a choice
that family and friends don’t understand,” she said,
“but they are embracing their call with faith and
The new members’ total is likely higher than the 4,000
surveyed, as some religious institutes did not respond.
The study’s findings, which did not include diocesan
priesthood, show an increased diversity in ethnicity,
age, and life experiences among new members.
Among those in training:
- 21 percent are Hispanic, 14 percent are Asian or
Pacific Islander, and 6 percent are African/African
American, which is a shift from 94 percent white among
- 43 percent are under 30
Among all new members:
- 70 percent enter with a bachelor’s degree and
nine in ten held full-time jobs
- 7 percent have been married and 5 percent have
- 73 percent attended Catholic schools for at least
part of their education
- 68 percent considered religious life before age
Overall, religious are an aging population. Most
communities report diminishing numbers, yet some attract
new members and a few are experiencing significant
growth. Men’s communities and women’s communities
following more traditional practices have better success
attracting younger members today.
Approximately 75 percent are drawn to religious life
very much by a sense of call and desire for prayer and
spiritual growth. An overwhelming 85 percent say what
attracted them to a community was its members, citing
their sense of joy, commitment, and zeal.
Beyond the example of professed members, the most
significant draw for new members is community life and
- Most new members want to live, work, and pray
with other members of their community.
- Younger new entrants look for an institute’s
fidelity to the church; older new entrants are drawn to
- New entrants prefer to live in large communities
(8 or more). Institutes in which members live alone face
challenges attracting new members.
- Many younger members seek to wear a religious
habit, a practice that has diminished in most religious
institutes in the past 40 years.
If you build it, they will come
Many younger members report not having known men and
women religious when they first felt drawn toward that
life. Some report relying on a friend or mentor for
recommendations. Younger members made use of online
vocational resources, including community Websites.
Effective strategies for attracting and retaining
new members include programs and promotions, such as
“Come and See” weekends, in which those discerning a
vocation can spend time with community members;
retreats; ministry experiences; and an engaging online
presence. Having a full-time vocation director or
vocation team and leaders who involve the entire
community in promoting vocations also helps.
Hope in the
Religious institutes acknowledge the challenges of
diminishing numbers, generational differences, and
diversified ministries. New members express hope in the
future of religious life. One study participant said
religious life “has been here a long time, and it will
continue in whatever shape that God wants it to be.”
Another said: “Community life--if it’s lived well, if
it’s joy-filled--attracts people.”
The study is available at