Bishop Kemme appoints vocation assistants

Seminarians Dominic Jirak, Left, Richard Olsen, and Caleb Harris pray during a Mass Aug. 18 marking the opening of the school year for the men in the St. Joseph House of Formation in Wichita. (Advance photo)

Considering seminary?

For more information about a possible vocation to the priesthood and about seminary life, contact Fr. Chad Arnold at 316-269-3900 or arnoldc@CatholicDioceseOfWichita.org.

Two priests have been appointed as assistant vocations directors for the Diocese of Wichita.

Bishop Carl A. Kemme appointed Fr. Drew Hoffman, pastor of St. Paul University Parish at Wichita State University, and Fr. Garett Burns, parochial vicar of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Wichita, to the post.

The assignments were effective Sept. 10. Fr. Chad Arnold is director of the Vocations Office.

Fr. Garett Burns

Bishop Kemme said the new assignments were in addition to their current duties. “I am grateful for their willingness to take on this extra work and am confident that their spirit of generosity will bear fruit,” the bishop said in a letter to the priests of the diocese.

They will focus principally on recruiting efforts, he said. “Along with their energy and their many gifts, their presence will aid the Vocations Office in reaching a wider number of potential prospects.”

Fr. Arnold said Fathers Hoffman and Burns will be working a bit behind the scenes to recruit potential seminarians. “They will be helping us put a bigger footprint in places – running some discernment groups, and being available for questions at events, and things like that.”

But both will likely be reaching out to students. Fr. Arnold said he can envision Fr. Burns visiting Bishop Carroll and Kapaun Mt. Carmel high schools and Fr. Hoffman working with men at WSU.

“We’re working out the details, but it will allow us to have more voices out there,” he said.

Fr. Burns said he is grateful to Bishop Kemme for the opportunity to join the vocations team. “I love being a priest because my life is always full. Not merely busy, but full: of life, love, and newness,” he wrote in an email. “ I look forward to the chance to share the joy of my priestly life with others and especially to invite young men to discern if God is calling them to join me in such a blessed and full life.”

Father Hoffman said he is thrilled to be a part of the vocations team.

Fr. Drew Hoffman

“There were many priests who encouraged me, challenged me, and walked with me on the path toward seminary,” he wrote in an email. “I’m excited to be able to do that in a specific way with this assignment. College is where many men discern God’s call for them, so I hope that my role as a college chaplain will be particularly helpful for recruitment and promotion.”

Bishop Kemme said assistant vocation directors aren’t new in the diocese.

“Whereas it is exciting to revive this position, we must not forget that each of us fills the role of the primary promoter of vocations in our own sphere of influence,” he wrote to the priests. “To continue the diocese’s rich history of vocations, first and foremost it begins with God’s calling.”

Part of the role of living the priesthood, Bishop Kemme added, is for priests to actively invite worthy candidates to consider a vocation to the priesthood.

“But second, it falls to us, living our priesthood well and actively inviting worthy candidates to consider a priestly vocation,” he said thanking the priests for what they have done to guide potential seminarians. “May we all continue with renewed vigor.”