WASHINGTON – The Catholic Church in the United States will commemorate National Vocation Awareness Week, November 5-11. Each year, national Catholic organizations, dioceses, schools, and local parish communities sponsor events and provide different resources to raise awareness for vocations, and help those who are discerning a vocation, particularly one to ordained ministry or consecrated life.
In his message for the 60th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis stated, “Our common vocation to give ourselves in love develops and finds concrete expression in the life of lay men and women, devoted to raising a family as a small domestic church and working as the leaven of the Gospel to renew the different sectors of society; in the testimony of consecrated women and men who are completely committed to God for the sake of their brothers and sisters as a prophetic sign of the kingdom of God; in ordained ministers – deacons, priests, and bishops – placed at the service of preaching, prayer and fostering the communion of the holy People of God.”
Bishop Earl A. Boyea of Lansing, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV), expressed his gratitude for holy families, ordained ministers, and consecrated men and women, saying “During this week, the Church gives thanks to God for the faithful example of husbands and wives, and joyful witness of ordained ministers and consecrated persons. We pray that many more men and women will be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit in their hearts as they discern the mission God has for them.”
Bishop Austin A. Vetter of Helena, a member of the CCLV committee, and episcopal liaison to the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors, National Religious Vocation Conference, and Serra International, emphasized that National Vocation Awareness Week offers us a special opportunity to “redouble our efforts of prayer that young people would be able to hear the voice — the quiet, gentle voice many times — of Jesus inviting them into a vocation as a priest or religious.”
Beginning in 1976, the U.S. bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year as an opportunity for the Catholic Church in the United States to renew its prayerful support for those discerning an ecclesial vocation. In 2014, the CCLV committee elected to move the week to the first week of November to better engage Catholic educational institutions in the efforts to raise awareness for vocations.
Resources from the USCCB, as well as the National Religious Vocation Conference, National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors, and the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious are available on the USCCB website.