McGrath Institute’s Notre Dame Vision program named recipient of NRVC’s 2020 Mustard Seed Award

By Anna Bradley

NRVC Mustard Seed Award 2020NRVC Mustard Seed Award 2020

Notre Dame, IN — The Notre Dame Vision program in the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame, under the direction of Megan Shepherd, has been named the recipient of the 2020 Mustard Seed Award by the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC). The Mustard Seed Award is presented annually to an individual or group who has made a significant impact on vocation ministry through small, local initiatives that have taken root and expanded to include the efforts and contributions of other individuals, groups, and organizations.

“We are thrilled to recognize Notre Dame Vision with this year’s Mustard Seed Award,” said Sr. Deborah Marie Borneman, SS.C.M., Director of Mission Integration at the NRVC. “Particularly striking about the program is its union of creativity and theological depth. Many former participants refer to Vision as a life-changing experience and one that continues to have an impact on their lives long after their summer at Notre Dame comes to an end, thus growing a culture of vocation that we seek to honor through our work at the NRVC.” 

Notre Dame Vision typically offers in-person programming to high school students over the summer months at Notre Dame and aims to cultivate an atmosphere and experiences that encourage young people to discover and renew God’s call in their lives. Through keynote speakers, presentations from trained undergraduate Mentors-in-Faith, small group discussions, and celebration of the Sacraments, participants are offered a culture of witness that is inspirational and has a theological depth that allows them to explore and deepen their relationship with Christ. 

The mission of Notre Dame Vision—to empower young people to recognize grace at work in their lives and respond to God’s call by offering their gifts in service to the needs of the world—continued this year despite the pandemic through the work of the forty-eight undergraduate Mentors-in-Faith. These Notre Dame undergraduates who had prepared to lead young people in the summer program turned their attention to their local communities to assess a pastoral situation and develop a plan for response. Grounded in a life of prayer, they listened attentively to the people of a specific community, worked to identify and prioritize their needs, and developed a pastoral response drawing on the richness of the Church.

“We are very grateful to NRVC for this award recognizing the work of Notre Dame Vision, which over the past nineteen years has formed over 19,000 young people to think creatively about vocation,” said Shepherd. “Our hope is that the mission of Vision lives on as they continue to respond to God's call by sharing their gifts with the world.”

Shepherd will accept the award in a recorded message that will be played at the NRVC Virtual Convocation on Saturday, October 31st. Past recipients of The Mustard Seed Award include the Here I am Lord Ministry (2014), the Dubuque Area Vocation Association (2016), and Youth in Theology and Ministry (2018). 

Visit to learn more about the Notre Dame Vision program.

Contact: Amy North, Program Director of Communications, 574-631-2894,