Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Catholic Church in the United States celebrates National Vocation Awareness Week, November 7-13, 2021. Dioceses across the U.S. will pray for and foster an appreciation for all vocations and pray specifically for those discerning a vocation to ordained ministry and consecrated life.
Pope Francis offered St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, as a model for vocational discernment. “Amid all these upheavals, [St. Joseph] found the courage to follow God’s will. So too in a vocation: God’s call always urges us to take the first step, to give ourselves, to press forward. There can be no faith without risk. Only by abandoning ourselves confidently to grace, setting aside our own programs and comforts, can we truly say yes to God,” he continued by exhorting the Church to look to St. Joseph as an “outstanding example of acceptance of God’s plans.”
This is a reminder that every person has a calling from God! From the moment of conception, when human life begins, God is already present, infusing a completely unique, everlasting soul into that new human being. The Catechism sums up this reality “Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end.” (CCC #2258)
Every human life, is sacred, from the very beginning of its existence until – forever.
Every person has a calling from God, and we are all key players in God’s story of salvation. There are four major Vocations that God calls us to share in his Mission of Salvation:
• The first possible vocation is marriage, in which one man and one woman freely choose to give themselves to each other in a life-long, exclusive commitment of holy matrimony.
• The second possible vocation is the priesthood. A man called by God to the priesthood is called to be a living image among God’s people of Christ, the Good Shepherd.
• The third possible vocation in life is the religious or consecrated life. This is the state of monks, nuns, religious brothers and sisters, and consecrated lay people.
• The fourth possible vocation is the single state. In a mysterious way, God calls some men and women to a permanent single state, so that they can put their time and talents fully at the service of their neighbors.
How can we best discern what vocation God is calling us to live? Here are three basic tools to help discern one’s vocation or calling in life.
The First tool of discernment is Prayer. Prayer is a dialogue that helps build up our personal relationship with Jesus, where we converse with him, but most importantly we listen to his gentle voice, as Jesus helps us to better understand our God-given mission and purpose in life.
The Second tool of discernment is putting our Faith into Action. By living our faith, we push ourselves out of our comfort zone and show God that we are serious about being living examples of our Faith by being the best son, daughter, brother, or sister, or friend that we can be. By developing the habit of giving our best at all times, we will become ready to give our best in whatever vocation God calls us to join.
The Third tool of discernment is the Parish Life. We cannot discern our calling alone. We need good advice and guidance from other people who know and love God, who have discovered their calling and are living it out faithfully. By staying actively involved in the parish, it’s easier to stay plugged in to God’s channel.
Please take a moment out of your busy day to pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life with our prayer for vocations.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. John Poncini, Pastor
Prayer for Vocations
Your divine Son taught us to pray
to the Lord of the harvest
to send laborers into His vineyard.
We earnestly beg You
to bless our parish, our school, and our Diocese
with many more priests and religious
who will know You intimately, love You fervently
and serve You joyfully
through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Continuously call our young people
to a living encounter with Your Son
in the Word and Eucharist,
that they might be made worthy ministers
of your Holy Catholic Church.
Strengthen them with the support of their parents,
teachers, and friends on earth
and all the angels and saints in heaven.
May the ever Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of the Church, intercede for us
that we might listen to the Word and act on it.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
St. Joseph, Patron of our Diocese, pray for us!