National Vocation Awareness Week

Nov. 3-9

From Nov. 3-9, the Catholic Church in the United States celebrates National Vocation Awareness Week. The word “vocation” comes from the Latin word vocare, which means “to call.” Simply put, “vocation” is a calling from God. The Church teaches that every person is called to become a saint, and in this we have a shared calling from God. A specific path, however, has been marked out for each one of us by God, so that by following it, we may do God’s will, grow in holiness, and help lead others into the mystery of the Divine Life. Very often we equate the term “vocation” strictly with “priest” or “nun.” Vocation, however, encompasses the single life, married life, religious and consecrated life and the priesthood. Although these states in life are varied, holding different expectations and specific responsibilities, every vocation is necessary and plays an important role in the Church meant for the building up of God’s Kingdom.

Discernment plays a significant role in determining the vocation to which a person is called and becomes clearer when engaged from several perspectives. Daily prayer, including regular Mass attendance aside from the Sunday obligation, time spent in Eucharistic Adoration, reading and reflecting on the Sacred Scriptures and other spiritual texts, the Rosary, regular spiritual direction, and good faith-based conversations with family and friends are among the most important tools for healthy discernment for the person considering a particular vocation, and provide much needed guidance for all of us called to helpful encouragement among those discerning.

Throughout the Diocese of Burlington, parish vocation teams have taken root in the goal of helping establish and promote a “culture of vocations.” The Vocation Chalice Program offers an opportunity for every family to receive in their home for one week a designated chalice from the parish and pray for an increase in vocations throughout the diocese. Parishes offer Holy Hours to help people discern and know their vocation through specifically designed readings, meditations and prayerful reflections. A weekly general intercession included in the Prayers of the Faithful is an opportunity to recall the Lord’s words to his disciples to “ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers for His harvest” (Mt 9:38). May these prayers provide all of us with the strength and zeal to invite more young men to consider a vocation to the priesthood and young women to ponder the possibility of religious or consecrated life. Encourage priests to speak about the themes of “vocation,” “discernment” and “prayer,” especially as it relates to their own calling from God. May each of us do our part in helping establish, build and promote a ‘culture of vocations’ in Vermont so that many more people may hear God’s call, respond generously, and find true joy and fulfillment in following God’s will for their lives.

For clarification about any of these initiatives or if you know a young man or woman who may be considering a priestly or religious vocation, contact Father James Dodson, director of vocations, at 802-658-6110 ext.1175.

— Father James Dodson, director of vocations for the Diocese of Burlington

—Originally published in the Nov. 2-8, 2019 issue of The Inland See.