Quo Vadis Vocations Club will support diocesan vocation efforts Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Sep. 10, 2015 -- 12:00 AM
vocations club
Todd Burud, second from left, who is assisting the diocesan Office of Vocations, talks about the new Quo Vadis Vocations Club with Kathy and Ray Stuttgen of Nativity of Mary Parish in Janesville. They spoke at a recent appreciation event held at St. Francis Xavier Church, Cross Plains, for those who volunteered with the Priests for Our Future campaign. (Catholic Herald photo/Mary C. Uhler)

MADISON -- The Priests for Our Future: The Church Is Alive! campaign has been very successful in raising funds to support the education and formation of future priests.

Now the Diocese of Madison’s Office of Vocations is taking the next step in involving people throughout the diocese in promoting vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and Religious Life. It is called the Quo Vadis Vocations Club, which will create a channel of communication between the Office of Vocations and each parish.

“We are building off the efforts of the Serra Clubs in our diocese to reenergize the efforts to foster vocations,” said Fr. Gregory Ihm, diocesan director of vocations.

“We’re trying to reinvigorate these efforts by involving people throughout the diocese. There will be open communication between the Office of Vocations and each parish with strategies to promote vocations. Hopefully this has the potential to bring forth more fruit,” he said.

Assisting Father Ihm with the new efforts is Todd Burud, who has been a member of the Madison Serra Club and is a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre.

St. John Paul II is patron

St. John Paul II is the patron of the new Quo Vadis Vocations Club. He inspired vocations to the priesthood through his strong spirituality and his ability to communicate a love of Christ.

He spoke to young people in 1992, asking -- as Christ did -- “Where are you going? (Quo vadis?), while supplying the answer, “Follow me!” (Jn 21-22).

St. John Paul II said, “To today’s young people, I say: Be more docile to the voice of the Spirit, let the great expectations of the Church, of mankind, resound in the depths of your hearts. Do not be afraid to open your minds to Christ the Lord who is calling. Feel his loving look upon you and respond enthusiastically to Jesus when he asks you to follow him without reserve.”

As St. John Paul II attracted men to the priesthood by his example, so we should do the same, said Father Ihm. And it should be a united, diocesan effort.

Previous diocesan efforts

He noted that the vocations efforts in the Diocese of Madison go back to the beginnings of the diocese. Both the Madison Serra Club and the Office of Vocations trace their start to 1952. In that year, Fr. Anthony Young was named the director of vocations and the Madison Serra Club received its charter on March 25, 1952.

Over the years, the club has donated over $150,000 and many thousands of hours of time to promote vocations. The Janesville Serra Club, the now defunct Beloit Serra Club, and the Southwest Vocations Club have all had an equally impressive history of assisting the diocese in their efforts.

Since the mid-1990s, the membership in all of the clubs has dwindled due to many factors. For example, the Madison Serra Club had 80 members in 1993 and presently has 15 active members. It has been evident that a different means of operating is necessary to effectively foster vocations, said Father Ihm.

New vocations efforts

He said the new Quo Vadis Vocations Club is building off the momentum achieved in the Priests for Our Future campaign. “A lot of volunteers in the campaign have been educated and know about our seminarians. We can use this as an opportunity to do more to promote vocations.”

Father Ihm has been meeting with the vicars forane, the priest leaders in each of the diocese’s nine vicariates, to talk about the new efforts. Each vicar forane will appoint a vicariate representative and in turn, these representatives will find a parish representative at each of their parishes, someone personally dedicated to supporting vocations.

These volunteers will help organize diocesan-wide events such as the Quo Vadis gatherings, Seminary Come and See Weekends, Life Directions Weekend, and the College Connection Program. They will also schedule the Chalice Program within each vicariate.

The parish representatives will communicate vocations announcements and activities to the parishes and help implement them. They will maintain an active list of persons willing to assist in vocations projects and keep them informed of activities and meetings.

Anyone may participate in the new club through their parishes. There is no formal registration required and no dues will be collected.

Plans are for a newsletter, education efforts, website, and events. Two Masses will be held each year at the Bishop O’Connor Center for all members and interested persons. There will be two planning meetings each year with the vicariate representatives and an annual meeting with a guest speaker open to all members and interested persons.

“My hope is that each parish and vicariate will build a culture of vocations and use their imagination to get people motivated. We can all work together to create a greater culture of vocations,” said Father Ihm.

For more information, go to or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or contact Father Ihm at the Office of Vocations, 608-821-3088.

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