WASHINGTON (CNS) – Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, New Jersey, chair of the United States Catholic Bishops’ Conference Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations, encourages dioceses to use National Week of vocation awareness, from November 7 to 13, as a time to promote vocations in their local faith communities.
“Studies on recently ordained and professed religious systematically show that the encouragement of the pastor is the most influential factor in vocational discernment,” Bishop Checchio said in a statement on October 20 regarding the upcoming celebration of a week.
âBut the accompaniment of the whole community of faith is the key to true vocational discernment – from parents and family members to Catholic educators, as well as the vital role that youth ministers and parishioners play as only first encounters for young people up to the faith, âhe added.
National Vocation Awareness Week is an annual celebration of the American Catholic Church dedicated to promoting vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life through prayer and education, and calling the faithful to pray and to support those who are considering such a vocation.
Resources for dioceses to use during National Vocation Awareness Week, including homily helps in English and Spanish, recommended reading and discernment tips, faithful prayers in English and Spanish, and Newsletter ready quotes are available online at https://bit.ly / 3jCqTcS.
The celebration of National Vocation Awareness Week began in 1976 when American bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year to call attention to the importance of supporting vocations and praying for those discerning a religious vocation. and celebrate those who were in ordained ministry and consecrated life.
In 1997 the celebration was moved to the feast of the Baptism of the Lord and in 2014 the USCCB Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations Committee moved the celebration to November to influence youth and young adults in engaging Catholic schools and colleges.
In his message for the 58th Annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations on April 25, Pope Francis offered Saint Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus, as a model of vocational discernment.
He urged the church “to regard Saint Joseph as an ‘outstanding example of accepting the plans of God.’ “
“For Saint Joseph, service – as a concrete expression of the gift of oneself – has not remained simply a high ideal, but has become a rule of daily life,” said the Pope in his message. âI like to think then of Saint Joseph, protector of Jesus and of the Church, as protector of vocations. In fact, from his will to serve is born his concern to protect.
Pope Francis added: âWhat a beautiful example of Christian life we ââset when we refuse to pursue our ambitions or indulge in our illusions, but instead take care of what the Lord has entrusted to us through the church. ! God then pours out his Spirit and his creativity on us; he works wonders in us, as he did in Joseph.