COLORADO SPRINGS. Serra Club members from around Colorado gathered Oct. 22-23 at the St. John Henry Newman Catholic Student Center in Colorado Springs for the annual District Six convention, and local Serrans garnered several awards.
The Serra Club of Colorado Springs was named “Outstanding Club for 2020-21” and also received the award for “Best Newsletter.”
Father Kyle Ingels, Director of Campus Ministry and Associate Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Colorado Springs, was named “Chaplain of the Year.” Eleanor Gentilini received the “2020-21 Outstanding Serran” Award and the team of Joel Kostyrka and Patricia Van Matre received an award for their membership activities.
The convention included several presentations on how Serra Club members can promote and encourage vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Father Carl Wertin, Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Pueblo, gave a presentation titled “The Owl and the Ox — the Who and the How of Vocations.” He described some characteristics of the generations of young people known as “Millenials,” “Gen Z” and “iGen” and how to have conversations with them that resonate.
In particular, those who belong to “iGen” — which includes anyone born after the year 2000 — have never known a world without the Internet and have very different experiences than older generations, Father Wertin said. He suggested reading the book “iGen” by Dr. Jean Twenge for insights into the way that smartphones have impacted people in their late teens and early twenties, who are often the target audience for vocations recruitment efforts.
“If we try to put that to the side and pretend that it’s not having a huge impact on them and our ability to relate to them, we’re doing ourselves a great disservice,” he said. “For us to acknowledge this — to turn to the professionals who have studied these trends and these realities — is going to be very crucial to us in promoting vocations.”
“How do we relate to them? How do we help these individuals hear God’s voice in their lives? They have to become disciples and make a decision for Jesus before they make a decision for this call from Jesus and their vocation,” Father Wertin said. “(Vocation) can’t come as the first conversation you have with a young person. They’re going to shut you down in an instant. Develop a relationship and invite them to events in which they can find a meaningful connection. Help them come into a community.”
Father Ingels also spoke about promoting vocations to the priesthood. Although the number of seminarians for the diocese has been on an uptrend, more men are needed, he said.
“We are very proud of our program but we also know we can’t be complacent because there is a lot of work to do in the diocese,” he said.