What does a Vocations Director do?
There isn’t a universal job description-it has many variables. In the Diocese of Columbus, I try to promote vocations in general. We believe God calls all of us, and as such, each of us responds through our respective vocations. I promote the specific vocation of priest. When a man believes God is calling him, I assist him with applying to the seminary. I administer our application process to determine whether or not our Bishop will sponsor him to the seminary. Once admitted, I act as liaison between the seminary and the Bishop in the formation of that man. Finally, I testify at the Ordination of a Priest (and transitional Deacon) that the candidate has been found worthy of ordination.
What’s your favorite part about this position?
There are a variety of favorite parts, like meeting men enthusiastic about the faith, who desire to learn more about the faith and serve the People of God. I also enjoy watching a man move from novice seminarian to worthy candidate for ordination and actually participating in the ordination of a priest.
Is it ok if someone discerns for a while and then discovers that they aren’t called to a religious vocation?
The discernment of a vocation requires a person to be open to the possibility that God is not calling him or her to that particular vocation. If I enter a discernment process completely convinced that God is calling me to this, then I am not open to the Spirit leading me to a decision. So when a man enters seminary, I impress upon him that the formation process may bring him to the conclusion that God is not calling him to the priesthood. And that is okay-it is a sign the process is working.
Do you have any words of advice for a young person discerning their future vocation?
My advice is to begin with the conviction that God is indeed calling me, that his calling invites me to participate in his plan, and his plan includes my happiness.
You helped to develop the Face Forward app for the diocese. What do you hope the app will provide for those who use it regularly?
I hope the app provides a contact point for people to remember every day that we are part of a bigger community of believers. I hope it reminds us that we are all on the journey of faith together, and that we are dependent upon each other for support and encouragement.
If you have any questions for Father Noble, he can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (614) 221-5565.