National Vocations Awareness Week calls Catholics to foster culture of vocations
October 27, 2015
WASHINGTON — The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week, Nov. 1 to 7. This observance, sponsored by the U.S. bishops' Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV), is a special time for parishes in the U.S., including those in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, to foster a culture of vocations for the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life.
The Office of Vocations of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston invites all Catholics to raise awareness of vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life, during this time.
This year, the Office of Vocations in the Archdiocese is sponsoring a “Vocation Van.”
“A recreational vehicle is going to several Catholic high schools taking priests and sisters to visit with the students,” said Sister Anita Brenek, associate director with the Office of Vocations. “We have also sent resources to the parishes to use to reach the large numbers of our Catholic faithful.”
National Vocations Awareness Week 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?"
“National Vocations Awareness Week is an ideal time to highlight the wonderful life choices available to young Catholics,” Sister Brenek said. “As the numbers of sisters and brothers have shifted and as the Church in the south has grown more rapidly than the numbers of priests, we are in need of raising vocation awareness with our young people. We also need to help parents be aware of the blessings and joys that go with serving as a priest, sister or brother.”
Parish and school communities across the nation are asked to include, during the first week in November, prayer and special activities that focus on vocation awareness.
Pope Francis, in his message of April 26, on the 52nd Day of World Prayer for Vocations states; "Responding to God's call means allowing Him to help us leave ourselves and our false security behind, and to strike out on the path which leads to Jesus Christ, the origin and destiny of our life and our happiness." The Holy Father stresses, "The Christian vocation, rooted in the contemplation of the Father's heart, thus inspires us to solidarity in bringing liberation to our brothers and sisters, especially the poorest."
A 2012 study, "Consideration of Priesthood and Religious Life Among Never-Married U.S. Catholics," conducted by the Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), highlighted the role community encouragement plays in the discernment process.
"Over and over again when asked, newly ordained priests and newly professed men and women religious, credit the encouragement of family members, coworkers, friends and clergy, as being a significant factor in their pursuing a vocation." said Father Ralph O'Donnell, USCCB's executive director of CCLV.
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. The Committee on CCLV moved the observance of National Vocation Awareness Week to November to engage Catholic schools and colleges more effectively in this effort.
To learn more about vocations in the Archdiocese and for resources, call 713-652-8239 and visit www.houstonvocations.com.