Hearing the Call

Ask yourself this: Is God calling me to live a life for him? Do I have a feeling deep inside that makes me think maybe, just maybe, I need to be helping God's people as a religious person? If your answer is "Yes," then don't you owe it to yourself to experience a discernment process to determine if that is, indeed, a call to religious life?

While we'd be thrilled if God was calling you to life as a diocesan priest to serve the people of southwest Iowa, we realize it is God's choice. God calls each of us in a particular way; to some to married life, some to diocesan priesthood, or some to consecrated religious life in another community. We want you to follow the will of the Father.

What is a Vocation?

A vocation is simply a call from God to a distinctive state of life, in which that person can reach holiness. The Second Vatican Council states that there is a "Universal call [vocatio] to holiness in the Church" (Lumen Gentium, 39). (Etym. Latin vocatio, a calling, summoning; from vocare, to call.)

For people pursuing the religious life, this typically looks like the priesthood or various forms of consecrated life. 

Who is the Church Looking For?

God has called men of just about every personality to be priests, from fiery spirits like St. Peter and St. Paul to quiet men like St. John and St. Francis of Assisi. He has called fishermen, scholars, farmers, writers, noblemen, commoners, doctors, lawyers, slaves, soldiers, and tax collectors. We have seminarians who joined our program right after high school and others who were in TV sales and chemical engineering. You name the background; God has called priests from it to serve him.

"Becoming a priest or a man or woman religious is not primarily our own decision.... Rather it is the response to a call and to a call of love." - Pope Francis, Address to Seminarians and Novices, July 6, 2013

Vocations Staff

The diocesan Vocations Office, led by Bishop William Joensen, is staffed with people who help young men through the discernment process, the application process and the years of formation as seminarians. We also assist women to connect with religious communities and with the discernment process.


Contact our vocations director, Father Ross Parker, or one our assistant vocation directors, Father Max Carson and Father Reed Flood, to start the discernment process. They would be happy to talk with you one-on-one to help you to see the gifts God has given you and to understand how He wants you to use those gifts to build up His kingdom.

Father Ross Parker, Director

Father Parker was ordained in 2013. Currently, Father Parker serves as Vocations Director for the Diocese and as Pastor for St. Mary - Holy Cross Parish in Elkhart.

Father Max Carson, Assistant Director

Father Carson was ordained in 2021 and is serving as Parochial Vicar at St. Patrick Parish and as Chaplain at St. Albert School.

Father Reed Flood, Assistant Director

Father Flood was ordained in 2021 and is serving as Chaplain at Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines.