March 1, 2023 | Opinion, Vocations
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than


Vocations office to host Lenten discernment series


Twenty years ago I heard a young woman say: “I wish there was more help in discerning our vocation!”  For the record she chose well. She married, has children and serves the Church with her gifts. 

I have been abundantly fortunate. When I reached an impasse in seminary on being ordained, my spiritual director suggested that we pray for light. Peace followed and I proceeded to priesthood. Her direction was indispensable.

But frustration at the lack of resources available to all for discerning God’s will is real. Several years ago I came across a book by Fr. Timothy Gallagher entitled: “Discerning God’s Will for Your Life: An Ignatian Guide.” Fr. Gallagher had served as my spiritual director on several priests’ retreats. His direction saved my priesthood.

The Catholic tradition is rich in spiritual guides. St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, provided spiritual exercises to discern whether the Holy Spirit or the Evil Spirit is speaking as I discern God’s will. Both have a vested interest. 

Fr. Gallaher has written extensively on the Ignatian tradition and here applies it to discerning God’s will both in our life choices but also in daily matters. The book provides principles of discernment and examples of people who have applied those principles in their lives.

The Office of Vocations of the Diocese of Owensboro is sponsoring a program to discern God’s will for your life. It will be held on the five Monday evenings of Lent, from Feb. 27 through March 27, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. in the Undercroft of St. Stephen Cathedral in Owensboro. The program is free.

The first part of the session will examine principles of discernment from Fr. Gallagher’s book. In the second half of the evening, a person will speak on the discernment of their vocation. Speakers include Fr. Will Thompson, Robert and Katie Edge, Deacon Gayle Rhodes and a religious sister. Each vocation is essential.

The gatherings will be livestreamed on Office of Vocations Facebook page at The book “How to Discern God’s will for Your Life: An Ignatian Guide” is available at St. Maximilian Kolbe Bookstore in Owensboro and elsewhere. Fr. Gallagher also presents the material on a YouTube series and the Discerning Hearts app. For more information call Fr. Ray Clark at (270) 231-1705 or Deacon Mike Marsili at (270) 875-0825.

Originally printed in the March 2023 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

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