National Vocations Awareness Week will take place from November 1st to 7th. The purpose of this week is to highlight and promote vocations specifically to the priesthood and religious life. As part of this week’s festivities, the Office for Vocation launches its annual Vocation Poster Contest (Grades 5th-8th) with the Department of Catholic School and Office of Religious Education.
Watch our LIVE event on Tuesday, November 3rd at 10:30AM.
With the current pandemic and distance learning being implemented in our Catholic Schools and Religious Education, our Office has devised a virtual plan consisting of live and prerecorded talks and presentations to help our students deepen their faith and discipleship in Christ and be open to their vocational call through prayer.
Join us for our LIVE Virtual Event will take place on Tuesday, November 3rd at 10:30AM! Can’t join in that morning? It’s okay! We’ll archive the program here so you can tune in at a time convenient for you!
The Live Virtual Event will feature both a religious sister and a priest. It will consist of music, a talk on the theme, a vocation story of the presenters, Q&A with the presenter (based on student submitted questions), and a prayer activity to close the day.
Let’s promise to pray for each other and our young people discerning their vocation, the path that God lovingly has laid out before them! And as we work to cultivate a culture of vocations in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, let’s flood the digital highways with messages of encouragement and prayers for those in discernment! Please join us on social media using #NVAW.
EMCEE: Fr. Sam Ward
Father Samuel W. Ward was ordained a Priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on May 31, 2003. Father Sam has been Pastor of St. Helen Church in South Gate, CA from 2008-2013. Previously he was Associate Pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Santa Clarita (2007-2008) and St. Emydius Church in Lynwood (2003-2007). Archbishop Jose H. Gomez appointed him as Associate Director of Vocations in 2013 and Director of Vocations in 2018. He lives in residence at Holy Family Church in Glendale. A member of NCDVD since 2013, Fr. Sam was Region XI Coordinator this past year and now serves at Executive Board Secretary for NCDVD. He has served as Chaplain at St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy in Downey for 17 years as well.
Father Sam received a M.A. Theology and M. Divinity from St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, CA in 2003 and a B.A. Philosophy from St. John’s Seminary College in 2000. He graduated from UC Irvine Cum Laude with a B.A. History and B.A. Psychology & Social Behavior (1995). He was educated in the public schools in Oak Park, CA throughout his education until he entered the Seminary.
GUEST SPEAKER: Sr. Gabrielle Vogl, SDSH
Sister Gabrielle Vogl has been a member of the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart for 15 years. She is currently the Retreat Director the Heart of Jesus Retreat Center in Santa Ana, serving children, youth, and adults. Sister Gabrielle has also participated in the Sacred Heart Sister’s catechetical ministry and in retreat and summer camp work at Sacred Heart Retreat Camp in Big Bear Lake. Sister Gabrielle’s 13 years of Catholic School education in the Archdiocese of San Francisco provided her a solid faith foundation to love and serve God. Her life suddenly changed as a young adult when she met the Sacred Heart Sisters, whose life and joy conveyed the personal love of Jesus’ Most Sacred Heart. Hearing God’s call, she responded with confidence and hope, eager to bring the joyful message of the God’s love to all through the joyful, and dynamic charism given to their Foundress, Servant of God Sister Ida Peterfy. The Sacred Heart Sisters’ evangelization ministry includes serving as DREs, RCIA directors, master catechists, and catechists as well as providing retreats for all ages.
GUEST SPEAKERS: Fr. Matthew Wheeler
Fr. Matthew Wheeler grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota and is one of five children (the middle child!). Growing up he loved the outdoors and playing the guitar and sports – especially soccer. Fr. Matt came to Los Angeles to attend college at USC and it was there that he experienced a call from the Lord to be a priest. Fr. Matt says, “My vocation to the priesthood grew little by little through personal prayer, love for the Eucharist, and service to others.” Fr. Matt studied at St. John’s Seminary, Camarillo and was ordained in 2018. He now serves at St. Anthony Parish in San Gabriel and loves being a priest. He also serves as the Regional Vocation Director for the San Gabriel Region.
WORSHIP LEADERS: Michael Paul Leon
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Michael Paul Leon has been fully involved in Youth Ministry since 2003. Doing ministry on a parish and International level he has served our youth from South America to Canada. He currently coordinates our HRSJ Life Teen (High School Youth Ministry) and a High School Confirmation Program. Michael Paul also is a part of the Catholic Leadership Institution’s Lay Ministry Development: Tending the Talents. He loves serving God’s people through music and parish ministry.
WORSHIP LEADERS: Renee Paladini
Renee Paladini is a Los Angeles native and has been serving with Holy Family Glendale’s Youth Ministry as an involved and learning Catholic Worship Leader. As a full time Music and English student at Cal Poly Pomona, she has dedicated her voice to years of collegiate choir ensembles, playing all ranges of music that have kept her love for cantoring and for The Lord growing stronger everyday. Since 2018, Renee has continued as a VIRTUS trained core-team member aiding the Lifeteen Confirmation/High School Youth Ministry that has been an inspiring reason of her continued love of Worship and building a more loving community that can come together and praise His name.