Bishop’s Guild becomes St. John Paul II Shepherd’s Guild

North Texas Catholic
(Aug 13, 2018) Local

Seminarians during the Mass

Seminarian Isaac McCracken stands during the Mass that began the Gratitude for Vocations event on August 5. (NTC/Jayme Shedenhelm)

FORT WORTH — The Diocese of Fort Worth’s Bishop’s Guild is now the St. John Paul II Shepherd’s Guild, Bishop Michael Olson announced during a Gratitude for Vocations event held Aug. 5 at downtown Fort Worth’s historic Hilton Hotel.

“It’s a call for renewal and clearer focus of what this ministry is,” Bishop Olson said. “Calling it the Bishop’s Guild draws attention to the bishop, as if the bishop were somehow the center of things. I think the focus of priestly formation is really directed toward the formation of shepherds who, in imitation of Jesus, defend the sheep and lead them to Him.

“After discussion and consultation we decided to renew the mission and focus and change the name, given that John Paul II worked very hard to articulate the focus of priesthood and the responsibilities we all have in fostering vocations.”

Shepherd’s Guild Coordinator Elizabeth Becker called the name change more than cosmetic.

“Because it represents the new focus areas of prayer and education and, of course, continued financial support for our seminarians,” Becker said. “And we felt the name change would help refocus our efforts toward those priorities, prayer and education specifically.”

One of his chief responsibilities, Bishop Olson said, involves fostering vocations and formation of priests, but he’s not alone in that.

“Priestly formation, because it is the work of the holy Church should not be secret, and people should know what it entails,” Bishop Olson said. “It is the role and responsibility of each of us in helping priests.”

In that way the Bishop’s Guild, founded in 2012, serves as an instrument of evangelization.

Guild members, through various levels of commitment, cover the costs seminarians incur throughout their seven-to-nine years of school at a cost of about $52,000 per year.

Seminarians during the Mass

Seminarian Eric H. Flores in conversation during the Shepherd's Guild event August 5.

Seminarians and their parents attended the Aug. 5 event along with Guild members.

“It’s a time for them to come together, reconnect with seminarians, and meet the new ones coming in,” Becker said. “To fellowship and see how they’re doing.”

Pedro Martinez, entering his third year at Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, spoke of the difference the Guild has made in his life.

“Without your financial help I would not have been able to join the seminary,” Martinez said.

Through his time of discernment, Martinez said the most valuable lesson he learned was to trust in God.

“If this is the vocation God is calling me to, He is going to help me,” Martinez said.

But it’s more than simply financial support said second-year seminarian Reed Proctor.

“I know a lot of us have remained in the seminary because of the prayers and spiritual support of [the Shepherd’s Guild] and members of our diocese,” Proctor said.

Proctor’s father, Dan Proctor, said he also appreciates the role of the St. John Paul II Shepherd’s Guild.

“Through events such as this you realize how much it’s not just your individual parish when you see the tremendous support of the whole diocese,” Proctor said. “It’s so comforting to realize so many are praying for not just your son but all the seminarians as well.”

Proctor otherwise beamed pride over his son.

“His mother and I are happy for Reed’s calling and supported him along the way,” Proctor said. “As a parent you want your kids to be happy, and what better way than by serving God?

“With the situation of the world right now we need priests,” he continued. “We especially need younger priests who can relate to the younger people coming up, and the Shepherd’s Guild definitely makes a difference in that respect.”

For more information:

Diocese of Fort Worth’s Bishop’s Guild, St. John Paul II Shepherd’s Guild, Vocations event, Fort Worth’s historic Hilton Hotel, trending-english