Everyone is a vocation director, says Archbishop Shelton at Serra luncheon

Seminarians Cole McDowell and Trenton Thieneman listened to a speaker during the St. Serra Club’s annual luncheon for seminarians. They are among 16 in formation for the priesthood. (Record Photo by Marnie McAllister)

The Archdiocese of Louisville is sending 16 men “back to school” in the coming weeks; they’re heading for seminaries around the country to be formed for priesthood.

The men, who range in age from 19 to 34, gathered at the pastoral center on Poplar Level Road Aug. 4, for an annual luncheon hosted by the St. Serra Club.

After mingling and dining with the club members, the seminarians took turns introducing themselves, sharing what they did this summer and describing their next steps in formation. 

Deacon Kenny Nauert, who is nearing the end of his seminary formation, noted that he served at Holy Trinity Church this summer, where he had 15 baptisms, a wedding, a funeral and visited people who were sick or homebound. 

Deacon Kenny Nauert spoke with St. Serra Club member Paul Willett during the St. Serra Club’s annual luncheon for seminarians Aug. 4. (Record Photo by Marnie McAllister)

“I have really come to love the people of God,” said Deacon Nauert, who attends Theological College in Washington, D.C. He said he is looking forward to studying canon law and asked his listeners to pray for him.

His listeners included Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre; Father Martin A. Linebach, vicar for vocations and director of the Vocation Office; and more than a dozen members of the St. Serra Club, which promotes vocations to priesthood and religious life.

Archbishop Fabre thanked the St. Serra Club for their “tremendous support” of seminarians, clergy and religious throughout the year through prayer, financial support and events. And he noted that all Catholics are called to this ministry.

“Every priest is a vocation director; every Catholic is a vocation director,” he said. “We are all called … to help people discern their vocation.”

The Serrans take their ministry to encourage vocations seriously, noted Bob Hubler, president of the club. The Seven Serrans Prayer Team, for example, ensures that seven club members pray for vocations for an hour each day.

Seminarians in formation for the priesthood chatted with members of the St. Serra Club, which hosted the men for lunch Aug. 4. The club is dedicated to supporting vocations. (Record Photo by Marnie McAllister)

“We want you to know, we are with you on your journey,” Hubler told the seminarians.

Father Linebach told the Serrans that he recently finished visits to seminaries where he received evaluations of those in formation.

“They do very well academically,” he said. “And the feedback from pastors (who have worked with them) is also very good.”

Today’s seminarians are “going to take care of your grandchildren,” said Father Linebach, who was interim vocation director for a year before being assigned vicar for vocations and director of the office in July. 

Among those heading to seminary this year are five new candidates for the priesthood. All of these men, said Father Linebach, are also “vocation directors.”

Working with them in the Vocation Office, he said, has “rekindled and renewed my own priesthood. That’s been an honor and blessing in my life.”

“Every priest is a vocation director; every Catholic is a vocation director. We are all called … to help people discern their vocation.”

Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre
Marnie McAllister
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Marnie McAllister
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