MANILA, June 10, 2013—A vocation promoter from a men religious congregation has found a unique way of attracting people, particularly young professional men to become interested in the priesthood—post tarpaulin vocation materials along train stations.
With permission from Light Rail Transit (LRT) authority, Fr. Rolie Richie Gomez, vocation promoter of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) has posted vocation promotion material about his congregation on LRT 1 and 2 stations for the whole month of June 2013.
In a phone interview, Gomez stressed that the strategy of putting vocation promotion tarpaulin in all stations of LRT line 1 and 2 really attracts possible vocations.
“We cannot do vocations if we cannot go to the ocean, we cannot do this if we cannot go to the forest. That is what I’m doing as a vocation promoter. This is my 1st year in vocation ministry and part of making awareness about vocation is to go down to the grassroots. In which, campaigning in train stations is one of the strategies wherein I can introduce vocation and my congregation,” Gomez said.
This is the second time he is doing vocation campaign using the train stations. The first try lasted for 3 months in LRT line 1 last year. This time around the campaign will run for the whole month of June for both lines 1 and 2.
Gomez believes the promotion campaign is really effective because he has been receiving lots of inquiries from prospective applicants since the tarpaulin was posted.
“With this, it is no longer difficult to find interested young and young at heart boys and men because they are the ones asking, contacting me and my role now is to answer their inquiries and explain to them all about vocation,” Gomez said.
“Since we put the tarp, I receive calls daily. So inquiries pile up every day, but we still need to screen them first before they can enter the congregation,” he added.
After the promotion was done via LRT 1 stations last year, it was found that 95% of the applicants were frequent LRT passengers, ranging from students to young professionals.
Gomez, however sees that the trend of vocation is going down which is why, vocation promoters and directors need to work hard.
Aside from using tarp in promotion, Gomez also gives talks, workshops, seminars, retreats and recollections for free as a way of promoting vocation and his congregation.
“I think other vocation promoters and directors can do this kind of vocation campaign in order to introduce not just their own congregation, but to inform people about vocation which can be single blessedness, married life and religious life. This is our mission in life,” he furthered.
Currently, the congregation has around 100 formands in philosophy and theology, postulants and novices. (Jandel Posion)