WASHINGTON – The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week, Nov. 7-13. Dioceses across the U.S. will hold events to foster an appreciation for all vocations and pray specifically for those discerning a vocation to ordained ministry and consecrated life.
In his message for the 58th annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis offered St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, as a model for vocational discernment. “Amid all these upheavals, [St. Joseph] found the courage to follow God’s will. So too in a vocation: God’s call always urges us to take a first step, to give ourselves, to press forward. There can be no faith without risk. Only by abandoning ourselves confidently to grace, setting aside our own programmes and comforts, can we truly say “yes” to God,” he said, and exhorted the Church to look to St. Joseph as an “outstanding example of acceptance of God’s plans.”
Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations has encouraged dioceses to use National Vocation Awareness Week as a time for fostering vocations in their own local communities. “Studies of those recently ordained and religiously professed consistently show that the encouragement of the parish priest is the most influential factor in vocational discernment. But the accompaniment of the whole faith community is key for genuine vocational discernment – from one’s parents and family members, to the Catholic educators, as well as the vital role that youth ministers and fellow parishioners play as the early encounters for young people to the faith.”
Observance of Vocation Awareness Week began in 1976 when the U.S. bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year to call attention to the importance of upholding vocations and praying for those discerning a religious vocation and celebrating 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’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations moved the observance of National Vocation Awareness Week to November to influence youth and young adults by engaging Catholic schools and colleges.
Resources for dioceses to utilize during National Vocation Awareness Week, including homily aids, recommended reading and discernment tips, prayers of the faithful, and bulletin-ready quotes are available online.
In the Diocese of Sacramento, Parish Vocation Committees are encouraged to organize a holy hour for vocations for youth of the parish, as well as a rosary for vocations. For more information about vocations in the Diocese of Sacramento, visit /vocations.