Choose Your Language

February 15-16, 2017

38 Chicago PriestsHighlights of a great Day 2 in Chicago:

  1. Stayed at Marytown, also known as The National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe- amazing! 
  2. Met with Michael Wick and Jenny Drelich to brainstorm ideas to promote religious life 
  3. Had incredible lunch at Ditka's, as in Mike Ditka, Coach of the Chicago Bears with Fr. Francis Bitterman, Vocation Director for Chicago 
  4. Taped a radio show with Fr. Francis all about vocations, of course!
  5. Had delicious deep dish pizza with 12 awesome college seminarians from St. Joseph College Seminary at Loyola University. Please say a Hail Mary for each of them!

Then, the big day arrived. I can’t tell you how excited I was to speak with the 425 priests of Chicago in attendance! They received the Vocation Ministry message well and bought many books! Praise God! I sat next to Cardinal Cupich as a bonus! I love subtle (and not so subtle) hints from the Holy Spirit. The antiphon we sang (Holy Spirit, Come to Us)! The Holy Spirit was with us!

During the day, the Office of Vocations shared information about a survey they conducted of the 6th-12th graders in Chicago Catholic schools. 4, 182 responded, representing 179 parishes, 66 elementary schools, and 11 high schools. The eye-popping results were:

38 Chicago Priests 2

216 boys answered that they have thought about being a priest
79% of those are open to speaking with a priest

171 girls answered that they have thought about being a sister
76% of those are open to speaking with a religious sister about this calling

Another standout was that only 28% knew what to do to learn more or how to explore a vocation to the priesthood or religious life further.

So much work to do!
St. Alphonsus Liguori, pray for us!

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For a full overview and step-by-step instructions for 50+ vocation activities, buy Hundredfold: A Guide to Parish Vocation Ministry. Purchase from

Also available in Spanish.

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I think this book will do so much good. I know you wrote it with much prayers and love, and it is a product of your dedicated works in the ministry of vocation. You have blessed our vocation office and the vocation ministry at St Cecilia and here in the Archdiocese abundantly! May the Lord bless you and He abundant fruit to your work!

Fr. Dat Hoang, Former Vocation Director for Archdiocese of Galveston Houston

Vocations to the Priesthood and religious life can only evolve in a culture which nurtures a positive response to God’s calling whether that be in the home, school or church. Without a doubt, a robust parish vocation mission is the perfect means of cultivating such an environment in all three places. Rhonda Gruenewald has developed a full proof method of creating and sustaining a bountiful vocation mission in every parish. Her work is truly the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Margo P. Geddie, Vice President for Communications for Serra US 

This book will be a useful tool for parishes in our Archdiocese and beyond. We frequently have pastors and parishioners who ask for help to initiate or revitalize their parish vocation committees. Having a manual coming from a parish’s practical experiences and with electronic forms available on the website will enable us to respond to their needs. We look forward to having it as a resource as we continue to build a culture of vocations for the sake of our Church and society.

Sr. Anita Brenek, CDP, Associate Director, Office of Vocations Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

To have all of these activities in one well thought out piece with such prayerful consideration and documented practice is a lovely example of Divine inspiration paired with the willingness of servant's hearts in answering His call. This is a beautiful example of what can be done with the collaboration of gifts bestowed to us while listening to the call of our Lord. It will become a gift to many in seeking a clear path to promoting vocations. "Well done, my good and faithful servant" Matthew 25:21. It is a masterpiece!

Anne Shepherd-Knapp, Chairman, Serra US Vocation Committee Deputy Governor, District 10 President, The Serra Club of Spring-1960 Area

The workshop provided practical steps to address a pressing need in our diocese. The wide gamut of possibilities allows large and small parishes to DO something. Rhonda is good at responding to questions and has lots of practical experience, both positive and negative.

Very Reverend Jay Peterson, Vicar General Diocese of Great Falls-Billings

The most beneficial aspects of the workshop are the book, the website and downloadable materials, and the practical nature of “how to”. You were also encouraging in the many ways pastors/priests are trying to encourage vocations.

Monsignor Mark Merdian, Diocese of Peoria, Illinois  

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