Pope asks all to urge youth to consider becoming priests, religious.
USCCB offers web resources to develop vocation culture.
Dioceses urged to link to bishops’ vocations website.
The Vatican has called for the 48th World Day of Prayer for Vocations to be observed May 15, the fourth Sunday of Easter, commonly known as Good Shepherd Sunday.
Pope Benedict XVI set the theme for the occasion, “Proposing Vocations in the Local Church,” in his message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. The theme underscores the responsibility of all in the local Church to foster vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. The message notes that parish priests, families, catechists and youth ministers are invited to take advantage of “every moment in the life of the Church community” for prayer and pastoral activity that give children and young people a sense of “belonging to the Church and of responsibility for answering the call to priesthood and religious life by a free and informed decision.”
“We all have a responsibility to invite young people to consider if God is calling them to the priesthood or consecrated life,” said Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. “Such a call challenges our deepest convictions and leads to the discovery of the deepest truth about ourselves.Those who are being called by God deserve our prayers and encouragement to respond generously and without reservation.”
The U.S. Bishops’ website, www.ForYourVocation.org or www.PorTuVocacion.org, and their Facebook page and other social media outlets, provide resources to help laity and clergy build a culture of vocations in home and parishes. Site elements include videos of priests and religious men and women giving witness to their vocations, videos of testimonies from parents whose children have answered a vocation to the priesthood and consecrated life, prayers and discernment resources for men and women, down-loadable lesson plans for educators, and retreat resources for parishes.
“We hope that every member of the Church will encourage and promote vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life at home, in the parish, at school and in their community,” said Mercy Sister Mary Joanna Ruhland, associate director of the Vocations Secretariat. “The web resources are valuable tools for their efforts.”