This is National Vocation Awareness Week, celebrated November 7-13, 2021. This is an annual week-long celebration of the Catholic Church in the United States dedicated to promoting vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and consecrated life through prayer and education, and to renew our prayers and support for those who are considering one of these particular vocations.
Yes we all know that we need to pray for more priests, more deacons and more consecrated women and men. But the concept of vocation is much more inclusive. Every baptized disciple of the Lord has a calling from God. You are aware that we have begun a ‘Parish Vocations Ministry’ this year with the intention of making our parishioners realize that the primary vocation given to all of us is to be holy. This call to holiness is lived out in various ways: marriage, family, consecrated state, single state, diaconate and priesthood. The zealous and enthusiastic members of our Vocation Ministry have done a lot of hard work to bring this idea into the minds of our people.
But old habits die hard and it takes a while to change a mindset. So it is not a surprise that the word ‘vocation’ can still bring to our minds only images of priests, nuns and deacons. The truth is whether we are called to marriage or to the priesthood or to the consecrated life, we cannot understand it other than as a way to live out the universal vocation to holiness, that is, to grow in intimacy with Jesus. That is why our Vocations Ministry is organizing a half day retreat next Saturday (November 13) to reflect on everyone’s vocation to holiness. I am very grateful and edified to see the detailed planning the team has done under the leadership of Joe Percoco and MaryBeth Vetter Purcell. Have you signed up for it? If so, you will enjoy it and benefit from it. If not, here are some reasons why you may want to sign up:
– The organizing team has planned a creative and meaningful way of spending this day to the satisfaction of all;
– They have identified excellent resource persons from among our own community who will share their understanding of how God is active in their lives as they respond to the call of God.
– The day begins with continental breakfast at 8:30 and ends with lunch at Noon.
– The spiritual enrichment you get at the end of the day will far exceed your expectations.
Every vocation is accompanied by a desire for self-gift in response to an encounter with God’s love. Does my entering into seminary or the convent look like taking a step deeper into a relationship with Jesus? Can I see my preparation for marriage to my fiancée through the lens of preparing to lay down my life as Christ has laid down his life for me? Does my present state of married or single life manifest the self-less giving of Jesus? Or is there anything that we are holding back, some small coin that we have not yet put into the treasury as today’s gospel about the poor widow’s mite (Mark 12:42) reminds us? No matter what, the Vocations Retreat has something for everyone.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal