Vocations Ministry celebrates 15th anniversary

Originally Appeared in : 9723-11/9/17

It has been 15 years since the Savannah Vocations Ministry was chartered as the Serra Club of Savannah. Looking back at our beginnings 15 years ago, at our organizing reception, Bishop J. Kevin Boland observed that there were 20 men then studying for the priesthood for the Diocese of Savannah and only one of them was a native of Savannah. “We must do something to produce more vocations from Savannah. I believe that prayer is the key to gaining more vocations here in Savannah. And having an active Vocation Ministry in the Savannah Deanery should certainly help with the effort to promote vocations here," he said.


Keying in on this statement, Father Joseph Smith, our first Chaplain, suggested that we promote saying the diocesan prayer for vocations. So we dedicated ourselves to creating an awareness of the critical need for priestly vocations by encouraging the saying of the Prayer for Vocations throughout the deanery by pasting the prayer into hymnals in all the parishes.


At one of our first meetings, we adopted the objective “to create a prayerful environment conducive to stimulating vocations in the Diocese of Savannah," and have been guided by it ever since.


One of our members, tired of all this talk about objectives and goals, said “I joined this group to pray for more priests. When are we going to do that?” This was the impetus for our monthly Holy Hours. 


And early on, cooking and serving meals to young men at several Vocation Retreats helped crystallize our thinking as to how we could help promote vocations in a tangible way. 


One of our most important undertakings to support and affirm vocations has been sponsoring the Annual Vocation Essay Contest, for the past 14 years, to encourage numerous young people to consider a religious vocation. 


Since the formation of the Savannah Vocations Ministry 15 years ago, 33 young men have been ordained as priests for the Diocese of Savannah. Although it is hard to prove cause and effect, I wonder how many priests would have been ordained if there was no Vocations Ministry.


There continues to be a vocations crisis in the Catholic Church today. The number of priests in the U.S. has been steadily dropping over the past 30 years, while the number of Catholics is skyrocketing. If something isn’t done, we’re going to revert to the era of the "priest circuit rider," who drives from town to town to hear confessions and say Mass once a month. There needs to be a sense of urgency to encouraging more vocations.


Saint Pope John Paul II said “The duty of fostering vocations falls on the whole Christian community.”


That is where the Savannah Vocations Ministry comes in. Today there are members from many of Savannah’s parishes dedicated to affirming, encouraging and supporting vocations to the priesthood and religious life as well as working to create a prayerful environment conducive to stimulating more vocations. 


We believe the existence of a Vocation Ministry, acting as a vocation resource, can help parish communities establish a culture of vocations in their midst and that should certainly help promote more vocations in the Diocese of Savannah.


We invite you to join this vital effort. 


Anyone interested in learning more about the Savannah Vocations Ministry contact Peter Paolucci @ 912-231-1868 or via e-mail at

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