WASHINGTON (USCCB) — The Catholic Church in the United States will observe National Vocation Awareness Week, Nov. 4-10. The annual event, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations is a special time for parishes to foster a culture of vocations for the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life.
“Eucharistic adoration is a common thread that seems to run through the stories of people I encounter who are seriously discerning a vocation,” said Father Brian Alford, director of the diocesan Office for Vocations. “I’m also convinced that the practice of attending eucharistic adoration and praying specifically for vocations is one of the most effective things that everybody in the diocese can do to help strengthen the culture of vocations here in our local church.”
“Even amid these troubled times, the mystery of the Incarnation reminds us that God continually comes to encounter us,” said Pope Francis, in his message for the 2018 World Day of Vocations. “He is God-with-us, who walks along the often dusty paths of our lives. He knows our anxious longing for love and he calls us to joy. In the diversity and the uniqueness of each and every vocation, personal and ecclesial, there is a need to listen, discern and live this word that calls to us from on high and, while enabling us to develop our talents, makes us instruments of salvation in the world and guides us to full happiness.”
Results of studies conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), notes that 72 percent of those ordained to the priesthood or solemnly professed within the last year cited participation in eucharistic adoration as a prayer experience that proved influential in their discernment.
“Quiet reflection and prayer are essential elements for vocational discernment,” said Cardinal Joseph Tobin, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. “It is in the interior depths of our heart where we hear the voice of Christ, where he speaks to us, and where he reveals his will for our lives,” he said.
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 the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord in January. The observance of National Vocation Awareness Week to November to engage Catholic schools and colleges more effectively in this effort.