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.
Will You Accept the Invitation?
Oct 15, 2017

As a priest, people often ask me to tell them my vocation story. There is just something about recognizing the work of the Lord in a person’s life that is fun for people to listen to. Depending on the situation, I have different versions of the story that I can tell which all have varying amounts of detail.
Click Here for More
Infinite Desire
Oct 8, 2017

We all have certain desires in life. Whether we desire possessions, experiences, or relationships, we all have things in mind that we think will bring us to fulfillment and happiness. The trouble is that human beings are made for the infinite. Every human has an infinite desire for truth and beauty and goodness.
Click Here for More
How Will You Respond?
Oct 1, 2017

In our Gospel reading this weekend, we see two different ways that son can respond to the will of his father. While both clearly understand the will of the father, one pretends to respond to it and the other actually does respond to it.
Click Here for More
Why Wait?
Sep 24, 2017

What are you waiting for? When it comes to life decisions, the world says things like “Stop…wait…don’t be rash.” When discerning seminary, countless people would tell me “Don’t you think you should go to college first, get a job, live a normal life, and THEN make your decision?”
Click Here for More
Movie Trailers and Desires
Sep 17, 2017

"Our desires are like movie trailers." When I watch the trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, what is happening? First off, I am being told of something that is to come…in December.
Click Here for More
Personality vs. Persona
Sep 10, 2017

A few years ago I was listening to a talk in which the presenter said, “God speaks to us in our persona while we respond to Him in our personality.” He started using examples from the Bible like Moses whom God called to deliver the people of Israel from Egypt.
Click Here for More
Claiming our Kingship
Sep 3, 2017

J.R.R. Tolkien’s book The Return of the King is vastly different from the movie created by Peter Jackson in 2003. The thing that struck me most when reading it was the character of Aragorn. The movie portrays him as this reluctant yet noble man who, after being pushed enough, takes up his rightful kingship.
Click Here for More
Rejecting Idleness
Aug 27, 2017

One of the most dangerous things that we can face in the spiritual life is idleness. Of course being too busy to spend any time with God is problematic too, but being idle can cause us to end up filling our God-given time with all kinds of meaningless things that lead us nowhere.
Click Here for More
A Prayer for Discernment
Aug 20, 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.
Click Here for More
Bring What You Have
Aug 13, 2017

Earlier in the week, one of the daily gospel readings presented us with the story of the feeding of the 5000. I'm sure we all know the story of how Jesus took five loaves and two fish and used it to feed this huge number of people. Jesus was of course the one that made this happen, but he chose to accept the generosity, the gift, and the openness of a young man who brought those five loaves and two fish forward.
Click Here for More
Conversing With God
Aug 6, 2017

Everything that I'm about to say most likely will seem super obvious, yet I think it is easy to forget from time to time! The seminarians of the diocese have just completed their annual seminarian Retreat. The priest who was giving the conferences spoke in the opening talk about the need to have a conversation with God while we are praying.
Click Here for More
Jul 30, 2017

It just hit me that a full 7 months have gone by since New Year’s Day. This means 2 things: That I've already had 7 months to work on my resolutions and that I’m only 5 months away from having to come up with new ones! I'm going to confess right here and right now that I can’t even remember what I set out to accomplish on January 1st, and that right now, when I think of things that I have to work on, it’s super tempting to push it off another 5 months.
Click Here for More
The Little Things Matter
Jul 23, 2017

The other day I was out waking while praying my rosary. As I proceeded along my route I came upon some trash sitting a few feet off of the sidewalk. I'll admit that I walked right past, but about half of a Hail Mary later, my conscience was screaming at me. Now, in case if you didn’t know, Allow me to say that the Holy Spirit works through our conscience in a big way!
Click Here for More
The Resurrection
Jul 16, 2017

Recently I have had multiple instances in which I’ve been given the privileged and humbling role of helping minister to a family following the death of a loved one who was quite young and in which the illness or circumstances that brought about the death were very sudden.
Click Here for More
The Point of Vacation
Jul 9, 2017

Leading up to summer break at the end of my first year in seminary, one of the priests told us something important: “There is no VACATION from a VOCATION.” In other words he was highlighting the fact the even during time off, it’s still important to strive to live the life that God is calling us too.
Click Here for More
Jul 2, 2017

Every 4th of July we celebrate our nation’s freedom and we remember all who have fought so that we might have and continue to treasure this freedom. I’d like for all of us to consider for a moment that the most important “Independence Day” came on Easter Sunday, when Christ won the victory over death and made it possible for us to be free from sin.
Click Here for More
How to Build a Ship and Follow God's Call
Jun 25, 2017

Recently I read the following quote and it really spoke to me: “If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” I think that the lesson that this presents can be SO helpful when we’re trying to figure out what God may be asking of us in our lives or even from day to day.
Click Here for More
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!
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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.”
Click Here for More
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).
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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!
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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!
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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!
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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!”
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More
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.
Click Here for More