Vocation coordinator Erick Sandstad
describes the diocese's "I Chose You" website as "an airport for discernment."
"You can get your ticket here, but you're not going alone," he
said of the site (www.ichoseyou.com), which debuted in September.
The website is designed as a one-stop resource for discernment or "being aware of where God is calling me at a specific point in my life," Sandstad
said, stressing that the website stresses discernment rather than recruitment.
"How can we help everyone—younger to adult, eight to eighty—find out what God wants of you.That's the focus," he
The website expands the concept of vocation to include all states of life, "going back to the roots" of vocation in the baptismal call to holiness and ministry, he
defined holiness as "nothing more than living God's will" and ministry as "nothing more than making a difference by filling another person's needs with the resources God has given you."
Some people, he
said, are already doing ministry, they simply have not identified what they are doing as ministry.
Specific life situations, however, are not the totality of the practice of holiness and ministry, he
said, because holiness and ministry are the foundation of all states of Christian life.
Although some have criticized this for being less sharply focused on vocations to the priesthood, Sandstad
said the idea is to create a "culture of vocation" for all, an openness to the will of God, which will ultimately yield all kinds of vocations."We're trying to create an atmosphere of openness, generosity, of living your baptism," he
...But, Sandstad said, "We're not worried about you becoming a priest, we're worried about helping you find out what God wants you to do," because it is important for all to identify their talents for holiness, ministry, and to enrich the church.Sandstad
, 37, is the president of the Sandstad Group
, a company he
founded with his
brother and a friend, which does consulting work for bishops on church issues.He
came to Lexington in 2004, as a consultant to the vocation office.He joined the staff of the Diocese of Lexington in February, 2005.In 2003, he earned a degree in behavioral psychology from Northeastern University in Boston.Before attending Northeastern University, Sandstad was a religious brother with the Legionaries of Christ for 14 years.
In formulating the model for the vocation office and the website, Sandstad
looked objectively at the church and examined how other churches did things.He
examined the Legionaries model, the apostolate of reaching out to community leaders, and he
looked at the hierarchical mode of ministries.He
also examined his
own life, how his
calling was revealed to him little by little, and how the pieces fell into place.He
came to the conclusion that all people are leaders, and he
revisited the roots of the word ministry, which in Latin means "standing small," he
said, adding "standing small, serving others."He
came to the conclusion that state-of-life is one aspect of vocation but not its entirety.
said, is "making a difference with this concept of ministry, with this concept of holiness."Attendance and funding are not the yardsticks of real growth, he
said."The early Christians "were not worried about filling the catacombs.They were going out."
"The Good News travels on the bridge of good deeds," Sandstad