St Bernardine of Siena, patron saint of advertisers, would likely have agreed with the idea of marketing vocations.

St. Bernardine, whose feast day is May 20, promoted devotion to the name of Jesus with the above image, which featured the letters “IHS.”

Just yesterday I talked with a religious superior in the East. She said there were two reasons why she hadn’t taken steps to market vocations.

The first was that she didn’t understand it. OK, I get it. She had been reading our Vocation Directors Newsletter (sign up for it here) about our Come & See Vocation Promotion Program. There was just too much to absorb.

And I could understand her confusion. After all, our system involves Facebook ads, a quiz, and newsletter followups. There are a lot of moving parts to the engine.

She didn’t trust marketing

The other reason, according to her, was that she wasn’t quite trustful of a marketing and advertising program. I can understand that, too. My assistant and I chuckled recently when we came across one article, written in 2006, by an expert in Catholic vocations. He said that you cannot market vocations any more than you can market vocations to marriage.

Well, guess what – today, you have to market vocations – even to marriage. People today are skipping marriage vows and their benefits, and satisfying themselves with Esau’s pottage of living together.

Marketing vocations and what experts say

If by marketing we mean shouting it from the housetops, as St. Paul said, then we must do it, and with the latest technology. Read what Pope Francis said about social networks and the “power of communications.”

Do you still have a hangup as to whether you should market vocations? Today, May 20, is the feast of St. Bernardine of Siena, the patron saint of advertisers. He promoted devotion to the name of Jesus in the 14th century. His IHS insignia was criticized at the time as a dangerous innovation. His detractors even went to the pope to try to get him to stop.

Angela Santana, an expert on the use of social media in the Church, has recently said,

“While the Church is not a business, it is a brand and an organization with a message. That message needs to be heard. If the ways that people receive and interpret messages has changed over the last few years, the Church needs to adapt to those changes in order to touch hearts and minds for Christ. This is not meant to suggest that the Church soften its message, nor that the Church should act like a business. Still, marketing insights are extremely beneficial to understanding contemporary communications, and the Church should partake of these benefits.”

“New Media, New Evangelization: The Unique Benefits of New Media and Why the Catholic Church Should Engage Them”