See also past Guest columns.

Encouraging a culture of vocations Print
Guest column
Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013 -- 12:00 AM

It is my joy and great honor to have been asked by Bishop Morlino to take on the responsibility of vocation director for the Diocese of Madison as of July 13, 2013. I look forward to getting to know each seminarian personally and to assist them in being formed into Men after the Heart of Jesus Christ.

I have already been encouraged by their prayerfulness, humility, cheerfulness, and desire to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ. My goal as vocation director is to continue to promote a culture of vocations throughout the diocese and to build upon the foundation that has been laid by my predecessor Fr. Paul Ugo Arinze.

Planting the seeds

After being raised on a farm, I understand the analogy of planting, nurturing, and harvesting, so I will use these words. I will continue to assist in planting the seeds, nurturing the men in formation, and reaping the fruit of the vocation promotion done in parishes and in the home by the family.

I am a young priest both in years of pastoral experience and years of age. I was ordained a priest June 25, 2010, served as chaplain to Camp Gray, and finished liturgical theology studies my first year of priesthood.

The last two years of priesthood I have served as parochial vicar of St. John the Baptist in Waunakee and St. Mary of the Lake in Westport, as well as master of ceremonies for Bishop Morlino.

Personal testimonies

Many of the faithful in the diocese heard a seminarian give his personal testimony of how the Lord called them and how they responded. As the vocation director for the Diocese of Madison, I find these talks beneficial for the life of the Church and reinvigorating for both seminarians and faithful alike.

The Office of Vocations has received wonderful feedback from the various talks throughout the diocese. I want to thank the pastors and the parishioners of the various parishes where these talks were held for your warm welcome of these seminarians.

Your prayerful support, words of encouragement, and authentic joy in seeing them is a real strong encouragement to them as they return to the seminary for another year of formation.

Gratitude for support

I would like to express heartfelt gratitude to those that have supported the St. Joseph Fund, which is set aside for the formation of the seminarians in the Diocese of Madison.

We are starting this academic year with 32 seminarians. You are making a beautiful act of faith by investing in the formation of men’s lives as they are formed spiritually, humanly, intellectually, and pastorally.

These men, through your generous support, are being formed to be more like the Sacred Heart of Jesus which is crucial to the promotion of the New Evangelization because they will witness to the power of Christ.

The seminarians also give back to the Catholic Church in the diocese each summer as they assist with liturgies, teach Scripture and catechism, volunteer with mission trips, visit the sick and elderly, help organize parish events, and strive to integrate themselves into the parish community.

God willing when these men are ordained to the priesthood, they will be around to serve our families and friends for the next several decades through the sacraments, service to the needy, catechesis, and many more ways.

I ask for your continued generous support of these men by your financial support, prayers, encouragement, and friendship. Mary and Joseph, pray for us.

For more information

For more information about the Office of Vocations or the St. Joseph Fund for seminarian education, contact our office at 608-821-3095 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Fr. Gregory Ihm is director of the Office of Vocations of the Diocese of Madison.