“This is what I want, this is what I seek, this is what I long to do with all my heart.”

-St. Francis of Assisi

October 2021
Message from the Director of Chicago Seminarians

Dear Brothers,

How many times have you met with a person who felt “stuck”?  Confessions, pastoral counseling, marriage preparations, (and the list goes on) – I have found myself sitting there listening to a person who cannot see the next step forward.  Certainly this can also happen to seminarians when they are not sure if they are ready to move on to ordination, accept celibacy, or engage in their new assignment.  As you work with young men considering the priesthood, here are a few ways to help them move forward when they feel “stuck.”
  1. The grass is not always greener.  Any of us who had the privilege of being taught by Fr. Larry Hennessey at Mundelein can remember the dozens of times he mentioned this line:  “If the grass looks green on the other side, then its time to water your own lawn.”  Or as another spiritual director put it: “To compare is to despair.”  The social media-driven world of young people today is intensely comparison based, and this can make it all the more challenging to simply be grateful for what God has uniquely given to you.  A vocation, like our life itself, is a gift.  Cultivating gratitude for what we have received is a sure way to return to communion with God.  To compare the vocation to the priesthood with what the rest of “the world” is doing is never a fair comparison.
  2. Be patient.  I still remember the first time that I heard of St. Ignatius’ rules for discernment.  It was in my first weeks at Mundelein Seminary when I was beginning my first silent retreat.  Fr. Paul Wachdorf read to the chapel these sage words of Ignatius: “In a time of desolation, make no change.”  How many bad decisions have these words prevented in the life of the Church?  Discernment of vocation naturally ebbs and flows, and discerners will experience both consolations and desolations as they seek greater clarity of God’s will for their lives.  Consolation will eventually return; in the meantime, we stay steadfast and don’t throw in the towel.
  3. Seek counsel.  Discernment never proceeds without knowledge.  I like to use the example of a guy seeing a girl across the bar who he likes.  Well, he can’t discern anything until he actually talks to her – because he doesn’t know anything about her.  One of the greatest encouragements we can give to men who are discerning the priesthood is to gather information and experiences.  Talking to priests and seminarians, visiting the seminary, experiencing pastoral ministry, making a retreat, reading stories of priesthood, and of course prayer – all of these are moments of gathering knowledge.  Only then can a man really discern with the help of the Holy Spirit where the invitation really lies.
Fr. Tom Byrne

Seminarian Vocation Stories

We are overjoyed by the quality of men we have in seminary.  Please enjoy and share their stories with your parish communities. You can also read up and view more of our seminarian vocation stories here:

Dcn. Michael Klatt

Dcn. Joseph Brom, SJC

Dcn. Colm Mitchell

Archdiocese of Chicago Vocation Office Discernment Groups and Events

On Saturday, October 2, we had the opportunity to spend our first Quigley Days of the 2021/2022 school year at the Indiana Dunes National Park.  We were engulfed in the God's beauty from the majestic sand dunes, thick forest, to the serene wonders of Lake Michigan.  This event proved to be a great example of meeting our goals of the Quigley Discerners Program: 

1.  Grow as Disciples of Christ
2.  Build fraternity and brotherhood
3.  Learn more about and discern the priesthood

Please consider inviting a high school aged young man from your parish to join us for our next Quigley Days, December 4th, 2021.

For more information on this discernment program, please visit our website here: 


Please encourage men from your parish, that show signs of priestly qualities, to sign up for InSearch professional aged discernment group.

Who:  Post college-aged men (early 20's to mid-40's)

Why:  Help men gain clarity in their vocation by discussing discernment and the call of discipleship and priesthood.

Where:  Bishop Quarter House
              750 North Wabash Avenue
              Chicago, IL 60611

When:  20 Tuesday evenings, 6:30-8:3 p.m.
             October 2021 through April 2022

For more information and how to register for InSearch, please click link below:
InSearch Information and Registration
If you are actively working with any young men from your parish in discernment of their vocation, please consider inviting them to the upcoming Exploring Priesthood Weekend at Mundelein Seminary.  Throughout a weekend of prayer, discussions, fraternity, recration, and presentations from current faculty and seminarians, attendees will better understand God's movement in their life as they experience life on campus.  

Attendees will have chance to learn about the steps of discernement, values of priestly life, and the structure of seminary formation.  Current seminarians will share their vocation stories and attendees will join them at Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, and the Liturgy of the Hours.  

Please consider making a personal invite today by sharing this registration link:  

National Vocation Awareness Week
November 7 - 13, 2021

We are one month away from National Vocation Awareness Week.  A mailing will be sent out at the end of October with the following:
  • Homily aids for each day of the week (Sunday, November 7 - Saturday, November 13)
  • Prayers intentions for prayers of the faithful
  • Chicago Seminarian 2021/22 prayer booklet
  • Chicago Seminarian "Baseball" cards
We are also seeking parishes to host holy hour one evening of the week.  If you would like to be added to our list of parishes hosting a holy hour during any of the evenings of November 7-13, please contact Shawn Lucas to coordinate. Mass publication will be sent out using Archlink and through our Social Media channels to promote each host parish.

The more prayers we have for our current and future vocations, the better!
Samuel Group
Discernment for Young Adults

This new co-ed discernment group venture got off to a great start in September.  Between our two locations (St. Alphonsus - Chicago & St. John Paul II Newman/UIC) we invited over 60 individuals.  Please continue to pray for the Samuel Group participants as well as the leaders running this first year program.
Upcoming Events

October 5 - INSEARCH, Bishop Quarter House (Chicago)
October 17 - Samuel Group (St. Alphonsus - Chicago)
October 22 - 24 - Exploring Priesthood Weekend (Mundelein Seminary)
October 24 - Samuel Group (St. John Paul II Newman/UIC)
November 7-13 - National Vocation Awareness Week
November 18-20 - Vianney Visit (high school aged men)

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Archdiocese of Chicago - Vocation Office · 750 N Wabash Ave · Chicago, IL 60611-2514 · USA