Family Vocations Day a Success 10

On August 18th, a very special event took place at the Fathers of Mercy Generalate at South Union, KY.  With the generous support of the Family Vocation Ministries (, the Fathers of Mercy hosted a day long conference called a “Family Vocations Day”.  The purpose of the day was challenge parents, children, and young adults to more deeply consider how God is calling them to serve Him their current state in life.  The founders of the Family Vocations Ministries saw the importance in having good holy families in promoting the different vocations by which God calls people to be holy and happy.  The family is the first place where children should learn about the faith, it is very important for the parents to do what they can to pass the Faith on to their children.  The event gave young and old an opportunity to attend talks and activities that were targeted to challenge them in their discernment and ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ.  Thus, the event has a special emphasis on a personal call to holiness.  That call takes on a specific role within the Church for the lay faithful, for priests, and for vowed religious brothers and sisters. 

Br. Adrian Duran, CPM, assisting with some of the games for the young people.

St. Peter Marie, OP, playing games with a few of the many children who attended the “Family Vocations Day” on Aug. 18th, 2012.

One of the unique elements of a “Family Vocations Day” is the interaction that the laity are able to have with male and female religious from different religious communities who take part in the day.  For many years, the Church was blessed with abundant vocations to religious communities, and the seminaries were full of seminarians.  Children and young people learned much about their faith from the witness of the religious brothers, sisters, and priests who worked in their parishes.  While the parents are the first educators of their children, the priests and religious had great influence in the lives of many Catholics.  A sad effect of the poor implementation of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council led many priests, as well as consecrated religious to abandon their vocations.  Many children and young people today have limited access to priests, and some have never met a professed religious brother or sister.  The “Family Vocations Day” on August 18th was blessed by the presence of thirteen religious sisters from four different religious communities:  The Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus, Owensboro, KY; the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, Nashville, TN; the Sisters of St. Joseph the Worker, Walton, KY; and the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word, Irondale, AL.  Two men’s religious communities were represented on that day:  three friars from the Franciscan Friars of the Eternal Word, Irondale, AL, and a large contingent of the Fathers of Mercy were in attendance. 

God blessed the day with over 500 people in attendance, and they came from seven different states to take part in the day’s activities.  The celebration of Holy Mass, along with the opportunity for confessions and Eucharistic Adoration gave attendees the chance to be nourished spiritually. 

Sr. Benedicta Marie of the Sisters Servants of the Eternal Word, spoke to young women in the Assumption Hall Chapel at the Fathers of Mercy Generalate.

About Fr. Tony Stephens

Fr. Tony was born in 1976 and is a native of Angelus, Kansas. He graduated from a public high school in 1995, and afterwards he attended Christendom College in Front Royal Virginia. Discerning a call to religious life and the priesthood, he joined the Fathers of Mercy in 2000. In 2001, Fr. Tony professed the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and then he studied for the priesthood at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. While at the Josephinum, he received his Master of Divinity degree. He was ordained a priest in 2005, and he served for two years as the assistant pastor of St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Nicholasville, KY. In 2007, Fr. Tony was assigned to begin traveling and preaching parish retreats, also known as “parish missions”. His travels have taken him all over the United States, into Canada, and also to different parts of the Australian Continent. From 2009-2015, he served as the Vocations Director and Student Master for the community. During this time, he also helped out part time in the preaching apostolate of the Congregation. Beginning in August of 2015, he joined the formation faculty at the Athenaeum of Ohio / Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary of the West in Cincinnati, OH, where he currently works at the Director of Field Education, the Director of Pastoral Interns, and assists on the formation faculty.