Call to priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life is a call to love
April 21, 2015
According to Pope Francis, the call to priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life is a call to love. The World Day of Prayer for Vocations on April 26 offers the Catholic faithful a chance to pray for those who have lovingly dedicated their lives to God through these vocations, that they remain faithful to their commitments.
It also is it a time to remember the words Jesus spoke to his disciples about a need to increase the number of those who serve God's kingdom: "The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest" (Mt 9:35-38).
Jesus is emphasizing the importance of praying for those discerning their life's vocation, that they listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd to guide them, to inspire them to respond generously and embrace the gift of a religious vocation.
In the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, the ministry responsible for encouraging and fostering young people to consider a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life is the Office of Vocations, one of 60 ministries supported by the 2015 Diocesan Services Fund. The ministry also is entrusted to the care of the seminarians who are in formation for the diocesan priesthood in the Archdiocese.
"Our Catholic Church needs priests, brothers, sisters and nuns to answer the call to lay down their lives to follow Jesus," said Father T.J. Dolce, vocation director of the Office of Vocations. "The work of the Church requires men and women to answer this vocational call. The Office of Vocations seeks to provide for the needs of young people who are seeking God's call in their lives in this ever-changing Christian community."
The office's main programs are vocational discernment events, such as discernment groups, retreats and prayer services for young people in the Archdiocese. The ministry also visits Catholic schools to speak about vocations as well as oversee the Archdiocesan funds used for the education of men in seminary formation for the Archdiocese to pay for their education, room and board at the seminaries they attend.
Currently, the ministry is gearing up for its next discernment gatherings, two of which are for high school students and two for young adults.
To learn about living a life of vocation, the ministry brings high-school girls together with sisters from several congregations to pray together, build friendships, learn about religious life and be able to and ask questions. The Vocations Office also organizes events for high-school boys to give them an opportunity to strengthen their faith through prayer, reflection, recreation and fellowship. Together with the staff of youth ministers and seminarians, young boys can discern their relationship with God and hear how God calls each person to serve in response to their baptismal call to holiness.
Other annual retreats organized by the office include young adult retreats for single men and women that offer prayer, silent reflection, presentations, group discussions and sharing one-on-one encounters and guidance from priests and religious sisters and brothers. Retreats are also offered in Spanish. For more information about the Office of Vocations, visit houstonvocations.com or call 713-652-8239.