Last week, I alluded that I would be writing this week’s column on ways that we as a parish can encourage vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Here are some things that I’ve seen work in various parishes that we can easily make our own:
Pray for vocations. This may seem simple and obvious, but praying for men and women to be open to the priesthood and religious life is so crucial. God is the source of all vocations, and those who are contemplating the possibility of the ordained or consecrated ways of life need prayerful encouragement. Having specific services, Masses and Holy Hours devoted specifically to the intention of an increase in priestly and religious vocations is so important.
Encourage others who may have the call. At St. Mary’s, we are blessed with a very vibrant parish. Certainly there are young people here who could be considering the call. Here are some signs to look for: a vibrant, devout faith; leadership capabilities; a desire to serve; a healthy personality; interest in the welfare of others; a desire to share one’s faith with others; an interest in the priesthood or religious life.
Make discernment a normal part of life. Discernment, in the view of the Church, is merely the prayerful journey wherein one asks God where he/she is called to go in life. God desires our fulfillment, and will not lead us down a path that will make us unhappy or empty. His plans are for our good and for our flourishing. Whatever vocation a young person ends up being called to follow, prayerful consideration will assist him or her in finding God’s authentic call.
Young people, if you are considering the priesthood or religious life as a way of life for you, please do not hesitate to talk to me, or to Fr. Steve. We are glad to help in any way we can, and to answer questions you might have.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org- if I can help you find some clarity in your vocation, or just talk over a few things with you, I’d be thrilled to do it!
Through the intercession of St. John Vianney, the patron saint of priests whose feast is August 4, may many more men and women embrace God’s call to service in the Church!