Serve a Year with an Alternative to Teach for America

New Mexico is a beautiful state. I got to go there in February 2015 to lead a daylong retreat for the teachers. St. Francis school was founded by Franciscans over 100 years ago in the tiny town of Lumberton, New Mexico. There were beautiful blue skies and a layer of snow on the ground when I visited. Most of the teachers are volunteers who give one or two years to the school, receiving in turn housing and a small living stipend. Take a few minutes to learn about Mike’s experience as a volunteer teacher and about Lilly’s too. You just may find yourself googling them so you can find out how you can go there!

I made these two videos for FREE. I love to ask people to consider giving a year of service and this is just one more way I help promote year of service programs.

On Praying for Vocations

At church, it is common to pray for vocations. Normally, we pray that young men and women will hear and heed God’s call to religious life.I have a lot of thoughts on this particular prayer.

The Youth

The emphasis is often on the young. In the 1950s, high school boys and girls had marriage on their mind and similarly, many were ready to make a commitment to religious life at that time.  Currently, the average age for Americans to marry is in the upper 20s. It is more realistic, in our cultural milieu for people in their 20s to start really thinking about their lifelong commitments. I’ve met fine men and women in their 40s and 50s who were novices in their communities, fully embracing their call to religious life.

Emphasis on those who will be called

Let’s imagine a big party is going on and people are really enjoying themselves inside. On the outside are people who wonder how to get an invitation. They wish they knew about the party in advance and wish they had been invited. The whole party would have been better if they had shown up and everybody knows it. In this situation, whose “fault” is it that there are people who would like to be at the party but instead are hanging out wishing for an invitation? I believe that the onus is on those who are currently in the party to go out and invite folks in, giving them lavish detail bout what’s going on inside, offering a glimpse, a smile and a warm welcome. It is up to those who are throwing the party to invite others.

Read my ten ideas for vocation directors to hear more: