The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocations Awareness Week on Nov. 5-11. It is an annual event and special time for parishes throughout the U.S. to actively foster and pray for a culture of vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and consecrated life.
“While not spoken about as much, it is my hope and prayer that one of the significant fruits of our diocesan synod will be an even stronger culture of vocations here in our diocese,” said Father Brian Alford, director of Vocations for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. “When people embrace the call to intentional discipleship, they more fully live the universal call to holiness out of which will necessarily flow an increase of those who hear and respond to the particular vocation the Lord has chosen for them, whether it be the priesthood, permanent diaconate, religious life or marriage,” Father Alford continued.
“As we go about our everyday life and most especially this week, we must keep vocations in our prayers, while, at the same time, being a mindful witness with our own vocation,” said Cardinal Joseph Tobin, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations. “We may never know how our lives may have an impact on someone else’s story.”
Sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the vocations week observance is designed to help promote vocation awareness and to encourage young people to ask the question: “To what vocation in life is God calling me?” Parish and school communities across the nation are encouraged to include, during the first full week in November, prayer and special activities that focus on vocation awareness.
Cardinal Tobin said that each person in the church has a key role to play in the witness of vocation in ordinary circumstances. “Simply living out our call as disciples of Jesus Christ fully and joyfully in the world bears witness to the love of Christ as he generously bestows on each of us our own personal call.”
Observance of Vocation Awareness Week began in 1976 when the U.S. Bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year for the celebration. It was later moved to Feast of the Baptism of the Lord in January. Most recently, the USCCB moved the observance to November to engage Catholic schools and colleges more effectively in this effort.
More information and resources are available at the U.S. Bishops website at: www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/vocations/national-vocation-awareness-week.cfm.
The USCCB contributed to this article. The entire class of diocesan seminarians is pictured on page 24.