By ROB HERBST
The Catholic Week
Archdiocese of Mobile Vocations Director Fr. Victor Ingalls is asking how God wants to use us in our “Native Soil.”
In a collaboration with 4PM Media, Fr. Ingalls has begun a weekly video podcast called “Native Soil.” Episodes are released every Wednesday and focus on our calling in the southern half of Alabama.
“A lot of times we think of what we want to do or what God is calling us to be, but we don’t often think where,” Fr. Ingalls said. “Place doesn’t have as much relevance today.”
“The idea is for all of us to claim where we are as our native soil. You might live here for a week, you might live here for a month, you might live here for a year, you might live here for five generations. Part of being Catholic is identifying yourself with the place where you are as your own, as if you were born here.”
That can be increasingly challenging as our world becomes more globalized and people become increasingly transient.
“We know all the world’s problems, but we don’t know our neighbor’s name,” Fr. Ingalls said. “We know all the bad things that happen in the world, but we don’t know the needs of our parish, the needs of our community, or know the names of our city councilmen. We tend to be not very tied to a place. A place is just a happenstance. The whole effort is we’re all in the Archdiocese of Mobile, we’re all part of this family. But how can we be more aware and more open to what God wants to do through us in the concrete circumstances of our lives?”
Most episodes are between 10 to 15 minutes long and are available on various platforms, including nativesoil.org, as well as YouTube, Spotify and iTunes. Along with the weekly episodes, Fr. Ingalls’ weekly homilies are added on Mondays.
Fr. Ingalls is in his fourth year as Archdiocese of Mobile vocations director and much of his ministry focuses on talking to young people and helping them reflect on God’s calling for them.
Fr. Ingalls wanted to reach a broader demographic. “Native Soil” provides that opportunity and also allows him to reach all corners of the archdiocese.
“I’ve been trying to build this culture of vocations. Realizing in order to do that well, you have to cast the net wider,” Fr. Ingalls said. “Vocations come out of a culture where everybody is asking that question daily.”
While there are countless options when it comes to Catholic media these days, make no mistake that “Native Soil” is directly geared to the people of the Archdiocese of Mobile.
“I’m directly speaking to the people here. That’s one of the big things,” Fr. Ingalls said. “We want to think and pray about the stories, language and sermons that will resonate with the people of the southern half of Alabama.”
Eventually, Fr. Ingalls said he’d like to include interviews.
Whether it’s a parish priest or a layperson, many have stories to tell about their “Native Soil.”
“When you hear the testimony of somebody you know, it drives it home a little more,” Fr. Ingalls said. “When people think of hearing God’s call, they think of being a priest or something extraordinary. He’s working in all of our lives.”
By ROB HERBST