How often should I be talking with my discerner(s)?

You should be talking with your discerner(s) every 3-4 weeks, usually after they complete a formation workshop.


Am I responsible for getting in touch with my discerner(s)?

Your discerner(s) are responsible for reaching out to you.


Does it matter if we use phone or video call?

You can choose whether to use phone or video call. For international program participants, we recommend video call so neither of you are charged with international fees.


What should we be talking about on our calls?

Prior to your conversation, you will receive a copy of your discerner’s workshop progress and task responses by email. Please review this.

Suggested questions for each workshop are provided on the mentor portal. You are not limited to these questions and can ask them about anything they’ve written in their task responses. We also recommend discussing the questions the discerner will write at the end of each workshop.

You are also welcome to talk with them about other matters regarding their spiritual lives or discernment as you see fit.


Am I allowed to encourage my discerner(s) to visit my community?

This is a sensitive topic because the mentorship program is not meant to be used as a recruitment tool, but rather a non-biased formation tool to help young adults. As such, we are cautious about mentors encouraging their program participants to discern with their own community.

Such visits are permitted if the discerner initiates the conversation or is expressing interest on their own about your community.

However, if you invite one of your discerners to visit your community, you must notify a Vocations Outreach team member by email. This is not to prohibit such visits, as we understand how helpful visiting religious communities can be, but to allow us to see which mentors are making such invitations, and how often they are doing so.

Vocations Outreach team members are also frequently in touch with the program participants. If a team member finds out that a mentor has extended an invitation to visit without notifying Vocations Outreach, the mentor will be dismissed from the program.

If you are interested in using the program for young adults already discerning with your community, please read more about our ability to integrate with a vocations office by clicking here.

Thank you for your understanding in this matter as we seek to provide non-pressured and encouraging formation to these young adults.


How long does the program last?

The program will run for 6 months. After you finish the program with a discerner, you will be able to receive a new program participant if you wish to continue serving as a mentor.


My discerner is sending me a lot of emails with their workshop responses. Is this normal?

No. With the online formation courses, program participants will have the option to send task responses individually to you or to send them all at once at the end of the workshop. We have given them explicit instructions to wait until the end of the workshop to send their responses to you. If they are not doing this, and are rather sending you every task individually, please contact us so we can get in touch with them and make sure they understand how to use the workshop properly. If they are sending you too many emails that are non-workshop related, just let us know and we can address that with them.


I was paired with a discerner, but haven’t heard from them. Do I need to contact them?

You are welcome to reach out to any discerners you have been paired with. If you haven’t heard from them within 2 weeks of being paired or are having a hard time getting in touch with them in general, please feel free to contact us and we will get in touch with them.

What if I am no longer able to be a mentor?

If you are aware you will not be able to continue serving as a mentor, please do your best to let us know in a timely manner. However, we understand that religious often have assignments and duties that can change with little notice. As such, if you find out you will no longer be able to be a mentor with the program, we will ask that you try to finish the program with any discerners you currently have. If this is not possible, other arrangments will be made for those program participants.


Will I be asked to talk to my discerner(s) after the program ends?

You are not required to talk to program participants after they complete the program. If you are mentoring someone over the age of 18, you are free to communicate with them as you see fit after the program ends. If you are mentoring someone under the age of 18, Vocations Outreach is not responsible for that post-program communication in any way and we still recommend observing general child safety protection standards if you are in communication with them.