by Gordon Nary
Gordon: When did you first realize that you may had a vocation, with whom did you discuss it and what was there advice?
Brother Steve: I first began exploring my vocation when I was in the latter years of High School. I talked with my pastor and Spiritual Director at my high school and they directed my to our local diocese. I entered seminary right out of high school
Gordon: What interested you in joining the Capuchin order?
Brother Steve: While in college seminary for my diocese, I realized that I was very drawn to communal life and ministry… I enjoyed our communal prayers and meals, etc… and wanted that to be a part of my vocation. The Capuchins had long been part of the Catholic community where I was grew up, so I contacted them!
Gordon: Where do you attend seminary and what were some of the more challenging courses that your took?
Brother Steve: I went to college seminary in Winona, MN at Saint Mary University/Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary. I did my theology in Chicago at Catholic Theological Union, which is a seminary/Theology school run by 28 men’s religious communities (including our own). There were many challenging courses… especially philosophy, which only really began to appreciate once I began graduate level theology! I completed my Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Theology in 2003.
Gordon: In what Province do your serve?
Brother Steve I am a member of the Capuchin Province of Saint Joseph, also known as the “Calvary Province” in the Midwest United States.
Gordon: When were you appointed Director of Vocations and what are your primary responsibilities?
Brother Steve: As often happens, I have many and varied roles that seem to be ever-changing! I was appointed our vocation director one year ago in June 2016. As I will also now be working with our student (post-novitiate) friars in Chicago and will serve as our Provincial Vicar for the next three years, I will have two brothers assisting me with vocation recruitment. There is much to do, so the extra help will make us even more effective in reaching out to young men interested in our Capuchin Franciscan way of life.
Gordon: How can social media be used to interested people in vocations?
Brother Steve: We use social media widely to spread our name and charism. I am blessed to have talented people who know how to best use this valuable resource to help with vocations… by showing how we live and work as men of the Gospel! The helps, along with other things, to plan seeds for possible growth in vocations… it makes us visible to a wider “audience”.
Gordon: What can parishes to to promote more interest in vocations?
Brother Steve: Parishes and other ministries can talk about vocations openly, encourage people to realize a vocational calling and assist… I think a lot of that is being done but there is room for a lot more… those interested in a religious vocation need someone to walk with them and encourage them
Gordon: Could you comment on the upcoming beatification of Brother Solanus Casey, OFM Cap?
Brother Steve: I spent the first five years of full-time ministry after final profession/ordination at the Solanus Casey Center in Detroit… the beatification of Fr Solanus is such a blessing for our Church, as his message of humbly trusting in the goodness of God can reach so many thousands more… I have seen the effect of his example and prayers in the lives of so many people in wonderful and miraculous ways… He wants to pray for us! He knows God is already ready to help and heal and love us!
Gordon: Do you know of any members of your order that may have a Capuchin Monkey as a pet?
Brother Steve: I’ll have to admit I’m not a big fan of pet’s in the friary… So I am happy to report, “No”… but I do recall the very first vocation brochure I saw for the Capuchins asked “What is a Capuchin?” and had a picture of a monkey and a friar from the 1950’s on the front… I didn’t like the thought of a long, unkempt beard, nor the possibility of cleaning up after a monkey… but I am glad I chose the Capuchins!
Gordon: Thank you for a great interview and I hope that some of our readers will pray for more Capuchin vocations.