Seminarians with Fr. Jeff Eirvin and Dina Marie Hale speak at St. Mary Cathedral Sept. 20. (Dawn Bentz/Archdiocese of Portland Office of Vocations)
Seminarians with Fr. Jeff Eirvin and Dina Marie Hale speak at St. Mary Cathedral Sept. 20. (Dawn Bentz/Archdiocese of Portland Office of Vocations)
National Vocation Awareness Week is being celebrated Nov. 1-7.

That’s a time to recognize what a gift God gave in the various vocations of the church, said Father Jeff Eirvin, vocations director of the Archdiocese of Portland. In a video released before the week, Father Eirvin urged parents, priests and teachers not to be afraid to speak of vocations to youths.

“Young people are listening and they have a desire for something more,” Father Eirvin said. “They need to know that God is the source of fulfillment of all their desires.”

The archdiocese’s vocations office has a newly designed website at archdpdxvocations.org. It offers practical steps to increase prayer life and self-knowledge, two of the best paths of discernment, Father Eirvin said.

The website includes video interviews with priests and seminarians, steps for discernment and access to prayer cards. It also lists events like the Jan. 8-10 discernment retreat with Archbishop Alexander Sample.

St. Mary Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland hosted a vocations Mass Sept. 20, with Father Eirvin and seminarians on hand.

In-person worshippers were able to meet seminarians, and more could watch the Mass and a post-liturgy conversation online.

Dina Marie Hale, a former radio host who is now a Catholic evangelist and speaker, reminded listeners after Mass that vocations begin in a relationship with Jesus.

Matthew Knight, a seminarian in a pastoral internship year at St. Mary Parish in Eugene, explored that notion, saying that his time as a seminarian has deepened his relationship with Jesus and begun relationships with parishioners — God’s people.

During a time of pandemic and wildfire, Knight has learned about people’s needs.

Father Eirvin told viewers that his aim is to create a culture of vocations in every parish. At the same time, he accompanies discerners and seminarians as they listen and decide.

There are now 27 seminarians in formation for the archdiocese. They attend four different seminaries. Five men have put in applications for next year.

Father Eirvin said families and the overall church bear some responsibility for vocations.

The kind of man who would make a good priest, Father Eirvin said, is the same who would make a good father: approachable, spiritual, pastoral. He should also have the capacity for graduate studies, the priest said.

To watch the presentation, go to vimeo.com/461080173.