The annual NCDVD conference is being held in Milwaukee this week. That's the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors. Through the generosity of a benefactor the Apostleship of Prayer was able to have a table at the conference. I used the slogan that I've used with Serra Clubs and other organizations that promote vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life: "The Apostleship of Prayer: Creating a Culture of Vocations." I believe that using the Morning Offering can be an important step in planting a seed that could one day sprout in a call to offer one's life in service to Christ and His Church. Along with our CD's of the Morning Offering, I also offered to the participants our Evening Review CD in which I lead the listener through the Ignatian Examen, a way of discerning God's presence in one's daily life. I think that if a person is discerning those daily movements of the Holy Spirit, one will be better able to discern a vocational call.
The conference also gave me the opportunity to connect with friends, priests from dioceses where I've worked or given retreats and missions, as well as a local friend, Anne, who follows this blog and has a tremendous blog of her own called "Imprisoned in my Bones." And I made new friends, some of whom are priests who work at seminaries and who were at the conference to tell the vocation directors about priestly formation at their seminaries. My table was right across from two laymen, John Bradford and Ryan Anthony, who run a fascinating program called "Wilderness Outreach." They propose the following question to men: "Do you have what it takes to go deep into the Wilderness, deep into work, and deep into the Heart of God?" The last part of that question caught my attention because that's a key part of the spirituality of the Apostleship of Prayer--to enter more deeply into the Heart of Jesus.