What's Happening...
June 18 - 21, 2017
Jeremiah Days
Bishop Lane Retreat Center (For Boys)
July 16 - 19, 2017
St. Therese Camp and Retreat
Bishop Lane Retreat Center (For Girls)
July 23 - 26, 2017
First Call Retreat
Bishop Lane Retreat Center (For Boys)

Vocation Corner

Each week, Fr. Keith Romke, the Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Rockford, writes a reflection on discerning one's vocational call.

What should someone pray about as they discern? What are signs to look out for? What is religious life like? These are some of the topics Fr. Romke covers and can be found on other pages on this site.

If you enjoy these weekly reflections you can stay in contact by following Rockford Vocations on Facebook, Twitter and even by contacting Fr. Romke directly at KRomke@RockfordDiocese.org.
The Eucharist and the Call to Love
Jun 18, 2017

One of the greatest gifts of the Second Vatican Council was the emphasis on the “Universal Call to Holiness” that stressed the reality that ALL of us are called to be saints, that holiness is not reserved to just a select few! This is crucial to remember when speaking about vocations, because no matter what you are called to, God desires for you to be holy, and your specific calling is the path by which God intends for you to reach sainthood!
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The Trinity as an Analogy
Jun 11, 2017

I think that a lot of priests around the world feel a little like I do on Trinity Sunday: I’m excited to talk about the greatest thing ever, yet at the same time I know that I can never do the topic justice because my limited human mind cannot even begin to fathom the immensity of God’s greatness nor the depth of the relationship that exists between the Father and the Son as well as the Love between them which is the Holy Spirit.
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What if I’m Stuck?
Jun 4, 2017

Sometimes in life we’re not sure where we are supposed to go, and at other times we don’t even know where we currently are! In these moments it can be difficult to make any choices, because we become afraid of making wrong decisions.
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St. Therese
May 28, 2017

One of St. Therese of Lisieux's big gifts to the Church is what is known as her "Little Way." This way of living for the Lord is quite simple (although not always easy in practice!) What it consists of is simply doing little things with great love, and doing these things for love of our Lord.
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The Priesthood
May 21, 2017

This past weekend two new priests were ordained for our diocese and yesterday Bishop ordained a new transitional Deacon who become a priest a year from now. These are incredible moments for the life of the church in for our local Catholic Community in the Diocese of Rockford.
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Do you hear His voice?
May 14, 2017

When I was growing up, there were countless times that I’d ask my parents a question, to which they would respond: We’ve already talked about this! A similar situation occurred when the Jews asked Jesus: If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." And Jesus answered them, "I told you and you do not believe. And then He takes it one step further and says: But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.”
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Listening to the General!
May 7, 2017

My guess would be that most people out there, regardless of religious affiliation or varying degrees of faith, would all agree that whole world today is engaged in a war between Good and Evil. We see it all around us, both in real life and in the television shows and movies that we watch (one example being light vs dark and Jedi vs Sith in Star Wars).
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State of Vocations Address
Apr 30, 2017

I am currently writing this during a brief break during the Spring Regional Vocation Director's Convention from St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee. There are 12 vocation directors from Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin in the room and we are all sharing ideas for vocation promotion. I share this with you because it is always a great couple of days for several reasons.
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Divine Mercy - Paid in Full
Apr 23, 2017

Today's feast of Divine Mercy is such a welcome and needed gift that is given to our World. Mercy is nothing less that forgiveness and love that is given to one who is undeserving and who would never be able to earn what is being granted. When Jesus died on the cross He canceled the debt that had been racked up by sin for the entirety of human history!
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VICTORY!!!
Apr 16, 2017

Doing God's will and following God's plan is what vocations are all about! Today's celebration of Easter is the ultimate victory for vocations! I say this because one of the most important things to always keep in mind in life is that following God's plan quite often will involve picking up some form of the cross and it's not always easy! In fact sometimes it can be very very hard.
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What Are You Willing to Lay Down?
Apr 9, 2017

Well, we've almost made it! Only one week left to go. If you are anything like me, one thing that you may have learned during Lent is that it can be extremely difficult to deny ourselvs of the things and the pleasures that we enjoy that we have chosen to give up as a penance for Lent. It is way easier to want to do things our way!
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A Prayer for Discernment
Apr 2, 2017

I believe that often times we can have a desire to pray, but feel like we don’t know quite how to do it right. The important thing is simply following the desire to pray in the first place. However, here is a prayer to give some guidance in praying to follow God’s will in your life. Pray it as is or make it your own.
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The Desires of Our Hearts
Mar 26, 2017

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” ~ C. S. Lewis
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The Importance of Self-Knowledge
Mar 19, 2017

Lately I've been reading an excellent book ("Christian Self-Mastery" by Basil Maturin) that begins with the concept that every ounce of spiritual growth that we receive in our lives stems from one of two sources of knowledge.
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The Importance of Purpose
Mar 12, 2017

The most basic message of vocations is that all of us have a calling and a specific purpose that God has created us for. It is in discovering this purpose and in carrying it out to the best of our ability that we will find the fulfillment and peace and joy in our lives!
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LENT!
Mar 5, 2017

Each year we approach these 40 days with excitement and maybe a little nervousness or apprehension if we’re being honest. Of course the goal of Lent is to go deeper in our relationship with Christ by working on our faults and trying to build up good habits.
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Do you know that you are loved?
Feb 26, 2017

The other day a whole group of people were standing outside of the Church, enjoying the nice weather, waiting for everyone to arrive for a baptism. In the midst of adults arriving and little kids running around, someone walked up to a 4 year old, they gave her a hug and said “I love you!”
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Embracing God’s plan with Faith!
Feb 19, 2017

God has a plan for all of us, and His plan ALWAYS yields lasting fruit beyond anything that we could ever imagine. I have a friend, Anna, who knew that God was calling her to be a teacher, and everyone who knew her said that she was going to be a great teacher and that this clearly was what she was created for.
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When We Can't See God
Feb 12, 2017

Often times in life we have situations where we truly feel like we need God's grace and his presence more than ever before. This of course often happens when we face trials or difficulties or sense something unexpected arising in God's plan.
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Age Range?
Feb 5, 2017

As the vocation director for the diocese, I am constantly talking to people about answering God's call for their life. The group I talk to most frequently are teenagers, followed by those in their twenties, and a handful in their thirties or forties. I'll admit that I don't give many vocation talks for those who are older than that.
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The Little Things
Jan 29, 2017

In her writings, Saint Teresa of Avila spells out many things that can get in the way of our progress in the holiness. Amongst many pertinent points she includes that resisting to do God's will in the day-to-day little things that He calls us to quickly becomes a major impediment to spiritual growth.
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2 Minutes!
Jan 22, 2017

This past weekend I was helping with a high school retreat for the Youth Group at my parish. At one point our youth minister came up to me and said that in just a bit we'd be having a session in which each of the leaders would be getting up and giving 2 minute talks on various topics.
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Ordinary Time
Jan 15, 2017

Welcome once again to ordinary time! Twice a year (after the Christmas season and following the Easter season) the priests all go back to wearing green and we all being going about the day to day duties of living our life in Christ.
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Are You Hungry?
Jan 8, 2017

Last week 21 men from throughout the Diocese gathered for a discernment retreat because their hearts are wide open to the Lord and because they deeply desire to do God’s will for their lives. I was amazed at how attentive they were, and as I spoke, it was as if they were hungry to be spiritually fed.
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Happy Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God!
Jan 1, 2017

Each January 1st we get the opportunity to celebrate and rejoice something very special and exciting: The Motherhood of Mary! I want to emphasize this today because I think that most people when they hear the words “January 1st” immediately think of New Year’s day, and they begin embarking on their resolutions.
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Christmas!
Dec 25, 2016

Today we celebrate the greatest gift of all, the birth of Jesus, God’s gift of Himself to us all! Of course we know that the reason why He did this was because of His immense and limitless love for each of us. Had He wanted, Jesus could have stayed in heaven, never had to have suffered, and have everything set up just right for all eternity.
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Time Crunch
Dec 18, 2016

Believe it or not we’re only one week away from Christmas! For many people I think this is the time of year when they feel incredible pressure and maybe even anxiety to get the last presents purchased and wrapped and to get the house cleaned for upcoming Christmas celebrations.
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People or Things?
Dec 11, 2016

As Christmas approaches I tend to get caught up in thinking of people in light of what gifts I’m going to get them. Once I have the perfect gift picked out, bought, and wrapped, when I think about that particular individual that gift will come to mind.
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Opportunities
Dec 4, 2016

In life there are always going to be times when we don’t know what the next step is and where we don’t necessarily know where to turn to for answers. We can pray and ask for guidance but sometimes it feels as if God isn’t giving a clear answer.
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Prepare
Nov 27, 2016

Whenever a big event is fast approaching we usually take stock of what we need to do in order to ensure that all of the major and minor details will be taken care of so that everything goes smoothly when the time comes for the event to begin. One such example would be planning for the arrival of a friend who is coming into town to stay with you at your home.
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Giving Thanks
Nov 20, 2016

This Thursday is Thanksgiving! It of course is a time to be thankful and grateful for all that we have received and to recognize that our blessings come from God. What I’d like for all of us to focus on in a particular way this year is not the great things that make us smile but rather to actually be grateful for the struggles and the trials that we've endured that help us to recognize our need for God and that help us to grow closer to Him.
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What really matters
Nov 13, 2016

Last week the Cubs won the World Series and I was on top of the world. I thought that things could not be better and that all was well in the world. Within 24 hours of this epic event, the child of dear friends of mine received a medical diagnosis that was difficult to receive. Suddenly the Cubs winning the World Series didn’t matter so much.
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Something Certain
Nov 6, 2016

As of the time that I am writing this article the Cubs are down 3 games to 2 in the World Series. By the time that you are reading this the Cubs will have either completed their comeback and won the World Series for the first time in 108 years or they’ve lost and will hope to break through on their 109th chance next year.
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Trust in God!
Oct 30, 2016

Unfortunately, fear is a common element that is present in many of our lives. For some of us this may be a big problem while for others it may just creep in from time to time. The tough thing about fear is that it takes our focus away from the Lord. The key to beating this difficulty in our life is to TRUST in God.
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Finding God's Plan While Carrying the Cross
Oct 23, 2016

As a priest I have an opportunity to visit people in the hospital and in Rehab Facilities quite often, and as you might imagine, the outlook and the spirits of the individuals whom I meet run the spectrum. Some of them are ready to give up hope whereas other have smiles on their faces no matter what it is that they are enduring.
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Called to Holiness
Oct 16, 2016

Every single person in the world has been created by God for a specific purpose, whether it be to be a spouse, a priest, a religious sister or brother, or a single person in the world who is making a difference by their example of living a Godly life.
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Goal and Mission
Oct 9, 2016

I was reading a book on leadership the other day, and I was fascinated on the focus and emphasis that was placed upon the importance of having a mission in place for any ministry or organization.
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Being Fed
Oct 2, 2016

The other day I was with some friends who were trying to get their small child to eat. It always amazes me when this task becomes a difficult chore, because I love eating and don’t understand why kids can be so stubborn when it comes to food.
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Religious Life
Sep 25, 2016

Just the last week a young lady from our diocese, whom I’ve been blessed to know and to speak with concerning her vocation, headed off to New York to enter the convent so as to continue to follow where she believes that the Lord is calling her to dedicate her life.
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Special Roles
Sep 18, 2016

Just last week I was blessed by the birth of a new God-Daughter. It was such an incredible moment to be able to hold her and especially to be able to bless her for the very first time. As I held her there were so many different thoughts that were going through my head, and I want to share a few of them with you.
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Answering the Call
Sep 11, 2016

I'm sure that all of us have ideas and plans about our lives. Those who are in high school or college probably have ideas of how their lives will go and what their futures will look like. So too for adults, even if you're already doing what you've always dreamed of, there are still probably things that you have plans about in the coming months or years.
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Are you following?
Sep 4, 2016

With the school year staring back up for students all around the Diocese, this means that the Seminarians for the Diocese of Rockford have headed back out to their respective seminaries to continue their formation. I am happy to say that there are currently 24 men from our Diocese who have felt this call from the Lord and have in turn responded by taking the steps necessary to say Yes to what the Lord has placed on their hearts.
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Never Settle
Aug 28, 2016

I was once running in a race that was chip-timed. What this means is that not everyone who is running has their clock start running when the gun goes off. Rather, due to the large number of people, the runners head out in waves and when you cross the starting line a chip records that you’ve begun.
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Hope in the Midst of Darkness
Aug 21, 2016

An important key the ensuring that we are doing all that we can to follow God’s will is to believe that He has a plan for us in the first place! This seems pretty obvious but at times if things don’t go as we expect them to or if it seems like God is taking longer than we’d want to answer our prayers, then it can be easy for a temptation to creep in that tries to convince us that God really doesn’t have a plan for us and that our lives just plod along haphazardly with no purpose.
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The Olympics
Aug 14, 2016

Currently we are right in the middle of the Olympics and if you’ve been watching you’ve certainly heard stories of dedication, perseverance, and commitment to training. I am often impressed at just how focused these athletes are towards achieving their goal of being the best that they can possibly be.
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What's the Goal?
Aug 7, 2016

Nothing is more frustrating than when it seems as if God isn't answering our prayers! That being said, whether or not He answers our prayers is always a matter of perspective. The truth is that God does always answer, He isn't going to leave us without one.
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Appreciation
Jul 31, 2016

A few weeks ago I was on vacation with a priest friend of mine, and as we walked through the lobby of a hotel we passed by a set of parents and their 3 kids.
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The Necessity of Love
Jul 24, 2016

As Christians we hear again and again that we need to strive to discern God’s will and to follow it with all of our heart. We know that we are called to lay aside our own plans and to follow God’s plan because we are told that this is what will truly make us happy.
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Don't Hesitate!
Jul 17, 2016

The other day I was sitting on a plane for an overnight flight and I was overjoyed when I realized that the 2 seats next to me were open. I was ecstatic because it meant that I would be able to sprawl out and sleep. A woman sitting in front of me turned around and mentioned that her husband was stuck up front between two other people and asked me to let her know after takeoff if he could come back and have one of the 2 open seats.
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Freedom
Jul 3, 2016

Happy 4th of July! This weekend we of course celebrate freedom, which is a great thing when used properly! I say this because oftentimes the world misinterprets freedom and meaning that we are free to do whatever we want whenever we want and that if rules of stipulations are placed upon us that this limits our freedom.
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