WASHINGTON — The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocations Week, Nov. 4-10.  This annual event is a special time for parishes in the U.S. to foster a culture of vocations for the priesthood, diaconate, and consecrated life. 

Pope Francis, in his message for the 2018 World Day of Vocations, emphasized that it is at the loving initiative of God, and by His personal encounter with each of us, that one is called.  “Even amid these troubled times, the mystery of the Incarnation reminds us that God continually comes to encounter us.  He is God-with-us, who walks along the often dusty paths of our lives.  He knows our anxious longing for love and he calls us to joy.  In the diversity and the uniqueness of each and every vocation, a personal and ecclesial, there is a need to listen, discern, and live this word that calls to us from on high and, while enabling us to develop our talents, makes us instruments of salvation in the world and guides us to full happiness.”

National Vocations Awareness Week, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, is designed to help promote vocation awareness and to encourage young people to ask the questions: “To what vocation in life is God calling me?”  Parish and school communities across the nation are encouraged to include, during the first week of November, special activities that focus on vocation awareness and provide opportunities for discernment. 

Contemporary society is all too often saturated by constant activity and noise, so it is important this week to encourage young discerners to take time for silent, contemplative prayer.  Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations echoes: “Quiet reflection and prayer are essential elements for vocational discernment.  It is in the interior depths of our heart where we hear the voice of Christ, where he speaks to us, and where he reveals his will for our lives.”

Observance of Vocations Awareness Week began in 1976 when the U.S. bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year for the celebration.  It was later moved to the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord in January.  The USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations moved the observance of National Vocations Awareness Week to November to engage Catholic schools and colleges more effectively in this effort. 

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