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On today’s feature, host Rick Howick welcomes a young man making his first visit to our studios. His name is Cole Buzon; and he is currently a seminarian at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo. For close to a year now, he has been serving an internship at St. Polycarp Catholic Church in Stanton.

Every person’s path to their vocation in the Church, whether it is as a priest, sister or monk, or along some other form of consecrated life – begins with discernment. Discernment is the process in which men or women recognize their vocation or “calling” within the Church.

Regarding his vocation, Cole speaks about how “God amplifies the desire within our heart.”

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Originally broadcast on 6/25/22


Welcome to another episode of Orange County Catholic Radio, featuring host Rick Howick.

Today’s special guest is Fr. Brandon Dang, the Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Orange.

Tune in and hear interesting and inspiring stories about the men and women who are currently discerning the religious life here in the Diocese of Orange.




Originally broadcast on 7/31/21


On this episode, Deacon Steve Greco is honored to have Fr. Sebastian Walshe join us in the studio for the first time. Fr. Sebastian is a priest of the Norbertine Order; and, is quite an accomplished author and speaker.

Fr. Sebastian has quite an interesting life story to share. As a young man, he accomplished a great deal in the business world. Then, at the age of 29, the Lord called him onto a different path.

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Originally broadcast on 8/30/20


VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Signing his document dedicated to young people, faith and discernment, Pope Francis said Mary, the mother of God, is a source of inspiration and strength for everyone who seeks to understand their vocation and remain faithful to it. 

Greeting some 10,000 people, many of them families and young people, in Loreto, Italy, on the feast of the Annunciation, the pope said Mary can help all believers dedicate themselves to “the path of peace and fraternity, founded on welcoming and forgiving, on respect for others and on love as a gift of oneself.” 

“Mary is the model of every vocation and the inspiration of every vocational pastoral program: Young people who are seeking or questioning their future can find Mary to be the one who helps them discern God’s plan for them and find the strength to follow it.” 

The pope chose to visit the Italian seaside town of Loreto on the March 25 feast day to sign his postsynodal apostolic exhortation — titled in Spanish, “Vive Cristo, esperanza nuestra,” (“Christ, Our Hope, Lives”). 

The document, based on discussions and input garnered from the world Synod of Bishops on “young people, faith and vocational discernment,” was to be released to the public April 2, the anniversary of the death of St. John Paul II. The intention was “to connect two pontificates, so loved and close to the younger generations,” said Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Vatican press office. 

The pope signed the document at the altar inside the small, one-room Holy House of Loreto, which tradition holds is where Mary was born and raised and where the Holy Family was thought to have lived when Jesus was a boy. It also is held to be the place where Mary received the angel’s annunciation and conceived the Son of God through the Holy Spirit. 

In his talk to those gathered in the square in front of the basilica housing the sanctuary, the pope said he wanted to sign the document on the date and at the place of the Annunciation to highlight how the Annunciation reveals what is necessary in the vocational process: listening to God’s word and God’s will, inquisitive discernment and bold decision-making. 

God always makes the first move, offering people the gift of his love, Pope Francis said. 

“One must be ready and willing to listen and welcome God’s voice,” which is hard to recognize if life is too “noisy” or agitated, he said. Quiet and extended reflection is necessary, he said, if one is going to be able to go below the surface and discover the “moral and spiritual forces” at work in one’s life. 

And God is always at work, giving and providing for his disciples no matter how “poor and small” they may be, he added. 

Because young people and families are not two separate realities, he said, pastoral programs and outreach must be dedicated to both at the same time because “very often young people are what their family gave them with their upbringing.” 

“It is necessary to rediscover God’s plan for the family,” he said, which is “founded on marriage between a man and a woman,” and to emphasize the family’s “great and irreplaceable” role in serving life and the community. 

The pope prayed that God, through Mary’s intercession, would help the faithful bring the “Gospel of peace and life to our peers, who are often distracted, caught up in material interests” or surrounded by a spiritual desert. 

“There is a need for people who are simple and wise, humble and courageous, poor and generous. In other words, people who, taught by Mary, welcome the Gospel without reservation into their life.” 

The pope began his visit to the sanctuary with a long moment of quiet prayer seated inside the Holy House. He venerated the statue of Our Lady of Loreto, which in 1922 was carved out of cedar trees from the Vatican Gardens to copy the 14th-century figure destroyed in a fire. 

He then celebrated a private Mass inside the Holy House with a small number of people, while thousands watched on large screens inside the basilica and outside in the square. 

When Mass was over, the pope signed the postsynodal document on the altar, under the image of Mary, so as to entrust to her the document and its fruitful pastoral outcome. The pope also placed a gift on the altar — a golden stem of roses in a small silver urn.


VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Men and women contemplating a vocation to the priesthood, consecrated life or marriage should not be afraid because God wants only for them to experience the joy that comes from serving others, Pope Francis said.

“Our slowness and our sloth” should not delay a response and Christians need not be “fearful of our limitations and sins, but instead open our hearts to the voice of the Lord,” the pope said in his message for the 2018 World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

“It will not fill our hearts if we keep standing by the window with the excuse of waiting for the right time, without accepting this very day the risk of making a decision,” the pope wrote. “Vocation is today! The Christian mission is now!”

The papal message for the day of prayer, which will be observed April 22, was released Dec. 4 at the Vatican. The 2018 theme is “Listening, discerning and living the Lord’s call.”

In his message, Pope Francis said God’s call “is not as clear-cut as any of those things we can hear, see or touch in our daily experiences” because God “comes silently and discreetly, without imposing on our freedom.”

Christians, he said, must learn to listen carefully and “view things with the eyes of faith” in order to listen to his voice which is “drowned out by the many worries and concerns that fill our minds and hearts.”

“We will never discover the special, personal calling that God has in mind for us if we remain enclosed in ourselves, in our usual way of doing things, in the apathy of those who fritter away their lives in their own little world,” the pope said.

Listening is increasingly difficult in today’s society, which is “overstimulated and bombarded by information” and “prevents us from pausing and enjoying the taste of contemplation” and discerning God’s plan, he said.

Often stifled by “the temptations of ideology and negativity,” he said, Christians need spiritual discernment which allows them to “discover the places, the means and situations through which” God’s calls them.

“Every Christian ought to grow in the ability to ‘read within’ his or her life and to understand where and to what he or she is being called by the Lord, in order to carry on his mission,” Pope Francis said.

He also urged men and women to live out their calling once it is discovered and “become a witness of the Lord here and now,” whether in marriage or priesthood or consecrated life.

“If (God) lets us realize that he is calling us to consecrate ourselves totally to his kingdom, then we should have no fear!” Pope Francis said.

“It is beautiful — and a great grace,” he said, “to be completely and forever consecrated to God and the service of our brothers and sisters.”


As parents, we want the best for our children. Nonetheless it is a challenge for us to support a daughter when she decides to pursue religious life. 

In fact, one-third of women entering religious life were discouraged to do so by their mothers, according to a 2014 study released by Georgetown University, compared to just 11 percent of men considering the priesthood. 

“Parents are protective of their children and don’t want anything bad to happen to them,” says Sister Eymard Flood, the Diocese of Orange vicar for religious. “They also are anxious. Some parents want their daughters to live close by and become angry at the Church” when their daughter’s vocation means she must leave her country, state or city to join her chosen religious order. 

Sr. Eymard encourages women interested in vocations to pray and research together with their parents, so that they fully understand the change their daughters can affect in the Church through her ministry. 

“Religious life is not a life of penance and sackcloth,” she notes. “It is a life of joy and can be very exciting. Sisters living in religious communities laugh and tell jokes and all those things.” 

So, how can parents support their daughters as they consider a vocation? 

“Pray with and for her,” Sr. Eymard advises. “Pledge to go to adoration, attend Mass, say the Rosary and become involved in the discernment process.” The Diocese of Orange offers educational programs on vocations that are open to parents as well as women considering vocations, she notes. 

These discernment programs provide a chance for questions and an effective way to begin the research process. “Parents inquire about whether religious life is safe and whether they can trust the Church,” she says. “We tell parents that their daughters are not losing control of their lives, but have the opportunity to grow in their faith.” 

Sister Linda Buck, a licensed marriage and family therapist who runs the Open Door Center for Integrative Healing in Santa Ana, said her parents were supportive when she told them she was considering her vocation. 

“At first, they just didn’t understand it,” Sr. Linda recalls. “They had the vision of the old way of living religious life. Once they got to know the sisters and saw what it’s really like they were very supportive.” 

Each community’s website has detailed information about the communities, she notes, and websites such as and have many resources to guide for those seeking vocations.  

“Families should give women a lot of space to explore their possible vocation,” Sr. Linda recommends. “Support them looking at different communities, not just one. At the Sisters of St. Joseph, we meet with women and encourage them to see if we’re the right community. If we think what they are seeking is more Dominican or Franciscan, for instance, we will help in that discernment.” 

Daughters and parents must be open to the Holy Spirit’s movement, she adds, and parents must be certain their daughters are going through a true discernment process. “Supportive prayer, praying for what their daughters need, is best because too much enthusiasm can close off the discernment process and put too much pressure on the woman. Her vocation could be to marry and have a family, be single, or to become a sister.” 

Each community possesses a charism, or a gift that the Holy Spirit gives them as part of life in the Church, she explains. “A woman must truly discern what charism is calling her; where she feels at home.”