Vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, holy matrimony, consecrated life and dedicated single life are central to the life of the Church and the salvation of souls; these vocations must be prayerfully discerned.

This week, Nov. 4-10, is National Vocation Awareness Week during which parishes and schools come together to pray for, educate and encourage young people to open their hearts and minds to what God’s will is for their lives.

It is both a privilege and a responsibility of all in the Church — priests, deacons, laity, parents, etc. — to help build a culture of vocations in which the faithful can hear and respond to the voice of God. “Responding to God’s call means allowing Him to help us leave ourselves and our false security behind and to strike out on the path which leads to Jesus Christ, the origin and destiny of our life and our happiness,” Pope Francis said.

National Vocation Awareness Week is intended to promote vocation awareness and to encourage youth to ask, “God, what do you want for my life?” We have to help others to recognize the movements of the Holy Spirit interiorly and to follow Christ without reservation. Even by simply inviting another to “think and pray about it, our enthusiasm and willingness to speak directly to others about vocations just might be the conversation that someone needed to respond to God’s call,” said Bishop

Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia.

Studies show that the community of faith is critical for the discernment of young people who are considering a vocation. “Over and over again when asked, newly ordained priests and newly professed men and women religious credit the encouragement of family members, coworkers, friends and clergy as being a significant factor in their pursuing a vocation,” said Father Ralph O’Donnell, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ executive director of clergy, consecrated life and vocations.

This week, remember to pray for an increase of vocations in the Diocese of Burlington to priesthood, holy matrimony, consecrated life and dedicated single life and also say something to someone to encourage him or her to think and pray about what God’s call might be.

—Father Jon Schnobrich is the director of vocations for the Diocese of Burlington.

—Originally published in the Nov. 3-9 Inland See.