Fishers of Men: Fathers Labrador, Stoecklein to assist Priestly Vocation Director
By DAVID MYERS
Fathers Rene Labrador (far left) and Ted Stoecklein (far right) have been appointed assistant directors of priestly vocations to Father Wesley Schawe (second from left) for the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City by the Most Rev. John B. Brungardt (center; second from right is Becky Hessman, Coordinator of Vocations.)
Father Schawe has served as the full-time director of priestly vocations for nearly two years. He was recently appointed pastor of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Dodge City, and will continue to serve as director.
“Both of our new directors bring with them unique gifts to help our boys and single men--and for that matter, all our faithful--discover what God already has planned for their lives,” Father Schawe said. “Their presence is also a reminder that the task of promoting priestly and religious vocations is the special responsibility of every priest.”
The position isn’t new to Father Labrador, pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Spearville. He served for 10 years as vocation director in his home diocese in the Philippines, where he oversaw an average of 30 seminarians.
“Ten of our present priests in our diocese [in the Philippines] have been part of my tenure as vocation director,” Father Labrador said. “Basically I will be assisting Father Wesley any time he needs some help promoting vocations.”
He and Father Schawe will be a source of help in working directly with the seminarians, as well as providing vocation awareness on the parish and diocesan level.
Father Ted Stoecklein, parochial vicar at Prince of Peace Parish in Great Bend, comes to the position after having served in youth ministry for several years.
“I see myself doing the same thing as before,” he said, “showing up where youth are and going with them -- trying to point the way to our Lord.
“What Father Wesley has done in the past, we will help him continue as he needs it.”
At the end of March, Father Labrador will take part in a pilgrimage to St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver where participants will enjoy time with four of five local seminarians: Tylan Ricketts, Juan Salas, Jacob Schneider. and Joel McClure. Meanwhile, Father Stoecklein will be attending the “Companion Camp” in June, during which young men travel to Conception Seminary in Conception, Mo., to visit with seminarians and get an up-close look at what seminary life is like.
“When we nurture the young people in their prayer life – introduce them to our Lord on a personal level – that’s when people, who are listening for their vocation, will find that the Lord responds generously to them,” Father Stoecklein said.
“God has your best interest in mind. God has happiness in mind for you. If God calls you to be a priest, then that is where you can be the most happy.”