Is there really a vocation shortage? Yes… and No. In once sense there can be no vocation shortage. Everyone has a vocation. St. Paul puts it beautifully with his image of the Body of Christ and the many vocations within the kingdom of God.
However, there is a real shortage of one particular type of vocation – vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life .
So the Church in the United States sets aside a week each year to focus on what can be done to water the seeds God has planted. November 2-8, 2014 marks National Vocation Awareness Week (NVAW) . encouraging these vocations is really a year round job but during this week we are called to “see, judge and act” in practical ways.
To prime the pump look at an alphabetical list of practical things that has been drawn up by the US Bishops Conference.
Some samples of this alphabet…
A: Ask your child to identify a talent which he or she has, and imagine together what work or ministry God might want someone to do with that type of talent. Also talk about what good things can be done with the talent right now. For instance, singing talent could be used to sing a baby brother or sister to sleep. Talent at soccer could be used to help someone on the team who needs extra practice.
B: Bring your family to the next ordination mass or prayer vigil for religious.
C: Challenge teens and young adults to consider a Church-related vocation. Tell them about the gifts in ministry you see in them. Encourage them to participate in at least one special vocation event (ordination, vocation retreat, Focus 11, etc.).
D: Discuss your own vocation to family life, explaining that God calls some people to priesthood or religious life, some to marriage, and some to life as single laypeople. You can talk about vocations firsthand!
The list goes on.
In the coming week FamVin News will celebrate what various branches of the Vincentian Family are doing to foster vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life .
In the meantime we can reflect on these words of Pope Francis “”We Christians were not chosen by the Lord for small things; push onwards toward the highest principles. Stake your lives on noble ideals!” ”
NVAW began in 1976 when the U. S. bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year for NVAW. In 1997, this celebration was moved to coincide with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which falls on January 13 in 2013. Beginning in 2014, NVAW was moved to the first full week of November.