Wednesday, January 16, 2013

National Vocation Awareness Week

This week the USCCB has declared to be National Vocation Awareness Week and they have some great resources on vocations at their website. One of the resources that they have is a prayer to know one's vocation and here it is as well as a link:

Lord, my God and my loving Father, you have made me to know you, to love you, to serve you, and thereby to find and to fulfill my deepest longings. I know that you are in all things, and that every path can lead me to you. 

But of them all, there is one especially by which you want me to come to you. Since I will do what you want of me, I pray you, send your Holy Spirit to me: into my mind, to show me what you want of me; into my heart, to give me the determination to do it, and to do it with all my love, with all my mind, and with all of my strength right to the end. Jesus, I trust in you. Amen

As I have mentioned many times in my homilies and will continue to bring up is that I think that we need to make people more aware of vocations to the religious life, priesthood, and diaconate. If people are not aware of this great life, if they do not think that they possibly could be called to it, then they are not going to consider it as a vocation. So, what should we do about it? Or a better question for you is, why should I do about it? All I am asking is that if you are a parent, a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, a teacher, or whatever for you to make sure that young people are aware that there is still and always will be a need for more vocations to the religious life, priesthood, and diaconate. I firmly believe that in this wold young people want to do something great in their life, and I know that the vocation to marriage is a great thing, but so is a vocation to religious life and holy orders. Please make sure to ask people who you think may be called to this vocation if they have thought about it, or let them know that you think they may be called. I know that this is hard to do, I have a hard time doing it as a priest, but I do it if I think that God is asking me to ask for Him. Think about that for a moment, you are not asking for yourself, but are asking as an instrument of God!!!
I can preach about vocations all the time, but in the end if the young people do not hear about it from their family, friends, and mentors they are not going to think about it as something serious, trust me I know this from personal experience. Make vocations to religious life and holy orders known, make it a culture of vocations, and then we will have more vocations. Please help out in doing this, remember that when one does respond to a vocation to religious life or holy orders they are not doing it for themselves, but are doing it to serve you, the people of God.

Here is a post that I published a couple years ago, and thought that some of you may want to look at it now:

It’s the end of National Vocation Awareness week, and I hope that everyone this week has looked at their own life, and seen where they believe God is calling them. Also, I hope that you have encouraged others to think about their vocation. I know that I started to think about the priesthood when I was in second grade and always had it in the back of my mind. However, if I did not have people encouraging me throughout the years, I’m not sure that I would have had the courage or strength to actually go and check out the seminary. Some of the people that helped out were family members and friends, but there were many other people, that would just ask if I had thought about the priesthood, including someone famous.

When I was in high school, I worked at United Hospital in St. Paul at the reception desk for the medicine care center. I had the habit of asking any priest that I saw what their name was and also what parish they served. One Saturday afternoon someone came up to me wearing clerics asking where a certain patient’s room was. So, once I gave him the information, I asked the man who I assumed was a priest, what his name was and where he served. He responded that he was Archbishop Harry Flynn and that he was the Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Now, of course I should have known this, seeing as he was the one who confirmed me and I even knew what he looked like, but I just did not expect to see him at the hospital. After being thoroughly embarrassed I told him that it was great to see him and to have a nice day and away he went. However, after he was done visiting the patient he walked by again and asked me what my name was and what parish I was at. I told him my name and that my family belonged to St. Joseph’s in West St. Paul. Archbishop Flynn responded that he was glad to meet me, and then he just asked me, point-blank, if I had thought about the priesthood. I told him that I had, and he said that was good and then assured me of his prayers. Now, this was not the only time someone had asked me about the priesthood, but it sure made me think about it a little more.

So, what’s the main point behind this? If you think that someone is called to the priesthood or to become a sister, don’t be afraid to ask them if they have thought about it. It’s never hard to tell someone that they would make a good mother or a father, but for some reason we have a hard time saying this when it comes to other vocations. Don’t hold back, you never know, it may help that person explore their vocation even more, which we are all called to do. Also, here is a link to the Archdiocesan vocation page, please check it out.

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