Fr. Steve Davoren is the current Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest Catholic archdiocese in the United States. He oversees the recruitment of men who are experiencing a call to priesthood.
There are ninety-two seminarians under the Archdiocese, the highest number in many years. Twenty-five of the seminarians are new students. There are also twenty new seminarians discerning the priesthood.
The increase in seminarian numbers is part of a national trend. According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), there are about 3,700 seminarians in Catholic seminaries across the U.S., a 13 percent increase in the past decade.
Davoren has written articles for the Angelus (The Tidings Online) entitled:
Under his leadership the Archdiocese of Los Angeles created and published a video about discernment and vocation. The video entitled, Follow Me: Journeys to Priesthood, interviewed seminarians and priests from different backgrounds about what inspired them to follow a vocation to priesthood. In the video, Davoren mentioned that all of them [priests] are hungry for something deeper.
“We want to portray ordinary men being called by God to live extraordinary lives,” said Davoren.
The video dedicated some time to immigrant seminarians and priests, and it also introduced viewers to the seminary formation.
Seminarians at St. John’s range in age from 22 to 45. Some have a foreign background, coming from Mexico, the Philippines, Vietnam, Guatemala and Uganda.
Life at LAPD
Davoren had his share of personal experiences about discernment. An article written about Fr. Davoren mentioned that Davoren served eight years as a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and as a Deputy Sheriff with the L.A. County Sheriff Department, prior to his ordination as a priest in 1996 at St. John’s Seminary.
His calling came at the time when he loved his LAPD job as a police office, and when he was in love with a girl he thought he might one day marry. To give them all up and choose the path of priesthood involved complete trust in God.
This, plus the normal possessions one gathers over a lifetime, physically and mentally.He was letting go of all of it, but sometimes you just have to put your trust in the Lord.
“Finally it was just a surrendering of it all…it was a win-win, whatever the situation,” said Davoren.
Davoren’s road to priesthood was published in the Daily Breeze Local News entitled: Calling took police office from patrol to priesthood by Dennis Johnson.
During a phone interview, Davoren vowed to collaborate with journalist Joe Quintana to create a long-form news package about how priesthood transforms a man. It will be published early next year to commemorate the 2015 Year of the Consecrated Life.