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Vocations director to welcome questions over a cup of brew

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Second priest offers coffee ministry
By Agnieszka Krawczynski

Photo: Father Rodney Nootebos has a cup of coffee with another priest near St. Patrick’s Parish in Vancouver. (Submitted)

Coffee seems to be the official drink at St. Patrick’s Church in Vancouver as the parish launches a second coffee ministry.

Father Rodney Nootebos is about to launch Coffee with a Vocations Director, an initiative inspired by Coffee with a Priest, started by St. Patrick’s pastor Father James Hughes.

Father Nootebos said the new initiative is an invitation, especially to men interested in the priesthood, to meet in a comfortable, casual setting.

“A lot of people come to me wanting help discerning,” said Father Nootebos, who became the Archdiocese of Vancouver’s full-time vocations director last July. He counsels men and women on listening to God’s call in their lives, and talks at parishes and schools about following God’s will.

But he takes no credit for any vocations that result from his efforts. “It’s God. That’s the humbling part. God is the one who does it.”

A copy of The Calling of St. Matthew by Caravaggio hangs on the wall in his office. It’s a reminder to Father Nootebos, who was ordained in 2010, of his own calling.

“Jesus points to Matthew, and Matthew is surprised, like, ‘Who? Me?’ In my own life, it’s the same. I look at my own call as a priest, and even just my call as a Christian, and the Lord chooses me.”

Father Nootebos first realized he wanted to be a priest in Grade 1 when he was inspired by his pastor’s “kindness, love of his people, and fatherly character,” he said. “That’s one of the best promoters: to see a good, happy, joyful priest.”

His desire for priesthood waned a little in high school, and after graduating he spent a year studying software development at the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

“There was something missing. I enjoyed what I was doing, but inside I knew I wasn’t fulfilled. Since the priesthood was on my mind for so long, I needed to at least look into it again or I wouldn’t have peace.”

Entering the seminary, he suddenly felt “flooded with peace.”

Now he helps other men to discern their futures and water the seeds God has planted in their lives. The result is about one or two ordinations a year in the Archdiocese of Vancouver.

“We’re not doing bad compared to many other places in Canada,” he said, although many parishes rely on religious priests from outside of the diocese.

While thankful for the number of priests in the archdiocese, “we definitely need our own, and more,” he said.

No launch date for Coffee with a Vocations Director has been set, but Father Nootebos hopes it will be soon.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 May 2017 12:07  

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