I am NRVC

I am NRVC

Mr. Gregory Darr

Gregory Darr with his wife and daughters.

Gregory Darr is a lay staff member with the Vocation Ministries Team of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. He currently serves NRVC as a member area coordinator for the Upper Midwest.

How long have you been involved in vocation ministry? 

I've been a full-time member of our Vocation Ministries Team since January 2016. Vocation ministry was, however, always an important part of my earlier work as a Maryknoll regional director of mission education and promotion—a role I served in for about 15 years out of our communities in Minneapolis and Chicago.

Are you part of a vocation team?  

Our Maryknoll Vocation Ministries Team includes our director of vocations, Father Mike Snyder, M.M.; Father Joe Donovan, M.M., a Maryknoll priest in the Los Angeles area; two extraordinary administrative assistants, Linda Lynch and Norma Araujo; and three Maryknoll priests and brothers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America who are attentive to men in local churches where we serve abroad who express an interest in becoming Maryknoll missioners.

I have, through the years also served on diocesan vocation teams in Chicago, Detroit, Joliet, Milwaukee, St. Cloud, St. Louis, and St. Paul-Minneapolis.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful? 

My participation in NRVC has benefited me beyond measure.  I have, first of all, been inspired and mentored by so many extraordinary women and men from diverse religious communities.  

In addition my initial training in behavioral assessment was foundational for me in beginning this ministry. Subsequent workshops and training have further instilled not only professional competencies but also ethical sensitivities. In accompanying any person who is grappling with meaningful life questions that surround discernment, I am more comfortable removing now, metaphorically, my sandals because the narrative ground of each person's life story I encounter in discernment is indeed holy. It deserves and calls forth the best in me professionally and personally.  

What idea(s) have you used in vocation ministry lately that excite you?  

Inspired by Pope Francis and the experience of our own Maryknollers, I tend now to work more from a spiritual and personal perspective of a three-stage process of vocational awareness: "Called," "Sent," and "Transformed."  Each of these stages embodies a unique mix of spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and behavioral attributes that, in any vocation, should ideally foster a maturity of Christian vocation toward an enduring witness of love and joy.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself. 

I am married and have two wonderful high-school-age daughters. There was a point in our young life as a family when the four of us held three different nationalities. (My wife was a citizen of the Philippines. Our adoptive daughter was a Chinese national. Our birth daughter and I are U.S. born.)

Are there aspects of the ministry in which being a layperson helps? 

I feel fortunate that Maryknoll recognizes the unique perspectives that lay men and women can bring to those who are discerning lives as missionary priests, brothers, and sisters. I am, for example, a married father of two with years of experience in cross-cultural mission. I also have an academic background in counseling and human relationships. While I am not in a position to model the vocation of missionary priest, brother, or sister, I can bring professional and personal experience in accompanying those facing meaningful life questions such as, "What do I sense God calling me toward?" and  "How can I grow, thrive, and love from any commitment that will ultimately face its tests?" 

Our Maryknoll priests, brothers, and sisters will also, no doubt, serve in mission and live almost entirely among laity of different cultures and backgrounds. The voice of skilled laypeople in discerning the readiness of a person to enter formation can help in assessing a candidate's ability to thrive in their future mission among laity. In the end, I've come to realize that our best Maryknoll priests and brothers are those who, if they had experienced a different call, would have made wonderful husbands and fathers. The gifts common to these seemingly disparate vocations are those I hope to see a person unwrap in his life so he can share them generously with the world as a Maryknoller.



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