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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Top Priority (Still!)

VOCATIONS REMAIN our top priority, at least according to documents from our last four Chapters. Rev. Mr. Steven DeMartino, vocation ministries coordinator, together with Maryknoll Father Dennis Moorman, helps keep vocations front and center here at the Knoll. They also accompany applicants to our priest and Brother Associates program.

"Most bishops in the U.S. do not know about (Maryknoll's) Associate program," DeMartino says. It's something he and the other deacons who work for M.E.P. —Larry Hart (Jacksonville) and Matt Dulka (San Francisco)—hope to rectify. DeMartino sees deacons as the natural liaison between Maryknoll and the U.S. hierarchy. This year we welcomed Father Makarios Isaac to our ranks as a priest associate from Cairo/Toronto. He is now working in Tanzania. There are two more priest Associate applicants "in the pipeline".

Deacon Steve also coordinates the annual Pilgrimage Retreat to Central America for priests and Brothers from around the United States.


While Fr. Dennis is hesitant to speculate about how many new seminarian and Brother candidates we will have entering next year, he thinks we may add perhaps six new men to our formation program within the next two years. A young man wishing to apply must be in communication with and accompanied by a member of our vocation team for at least a year and a half. The usual age limit for a Maryknoll vocation applicant is 40, but exceptions are made for men who have formal theological training or degrees or are fluent in foreign languages.

Vocations ministries reported to the General Council that in August we had 36 inquiries, compared to 35 for the same month last year. Year-to-date, inquiries are down to 353 compared to 509 for the same period in 2008. However, they are actively accompanying 33 men interested in joining Maryknoll compared to 31 in 2008.

According to Moorman, instead of coming to us through traditional publications like MARYKNOLL magazine or Revista Maryknoll, young men are contacting us more and more via email and our original website as well as our newer sites and This latter one is in its second year and, while not explicitly vocational, invites young people to submit a home video or DVD of their active involvement in ministry in hopes of winning a mission trip abroad. This year's winners went to Brazil and next year's prize is a trip to our missions in Africa. Click on the above link to view the winning entries as well as the runners up. A brand new website just started. Check out

Given the increasing importance of "new media" and modern social networking (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter) Moorman encourages all Maryknollers to acquaint themselves with these new means of communicating to reach out to young people and invite them to consider a vocation to mission and to Maryknoll.

Ordained to the diaconate in June 2005 by Cardinal Egan, Steve serves at St. Augustine's parish in Ossining and began working for us almost a year ago, on Oct. 15, 2008. He and his wife Doreen will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary on September 22! They have two sons, Hunter Anthony 14, and Dillon Peter, 17. Prior to his marriage, DeMartino was a member of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales from 1976~1983. In addition to his work for Maryknoll and St. Augustine's, Steve serves on review boards for several congregations investigating sexual abuse allegations. He is supervispr of leadership teams that offer consultation services to many Catholic organizations.



    I encourage all Maryknollers to view the new Maryknoll Brothers website at: This website was designed for Vocations in order that prospects acquire an understanding of Maryknoll Brotherhood. I would like to receive feedback or new stories of Brothers.

    I encourage anyone who would like to see the videos that are on the Maryknoll Vocations youtube channel to view them on "Tangle" (a social networking site viewable on the Maryknoll system): Go to search and enter: dlabuda. Then select video that you would like to view.

    The new Vocation video is uploaded on the "tangle site". Check it out.

  2. Done! I just added to the post on vocations!