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USCCB offers message for Vocations Awareness Week

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WASHINGTON — The Catholic Church in the United States celebrates National Vocation Awareness Week, Nov. 6-12. Across the United States, dioceses, parishes, and Catholic organizations will host events to promote vocations to the ordained ministry and consecrated life. The faithful are encouraged during this week to renew their prayerful support for those currently discerning a vocation to the priesthood, diaconate, or consecrated life.

In his Message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis, reiterating his call for the Church to become increasingly synodal, compared the diversity of vocations in the Church to that of a beautiful mosaic. “As Christians, we do not only receive a vocation individually; we are also called together. We are like the tiles of a mosaic. Each is lovely by itself, but only when they are put together do they form a picture. Each of us shines like a star in the heart of God and in the firmament of the universe. At the same time, though, we are called to form constellations that can guide and light up the path of humanity, beginning with the places in which we live. This is the mystery of the Church: a celebration of differences, a sign, and instrument of all that humanity is called to be.”

Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, New Jersey, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations emphasized that vocational discernment always takes place within a community. “Each year, the CCLV Committee commissions the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate to conduct surveys of those recently ordained and religiously professed in the past year. These studies consistently show that vocations are the fruit of communal accompaniment. The family, healthy and holy friendships, youth group, campus ministry, and the broader parish and diocesan community form supportive environments in which vocations are first nurtured and grown.”

Observance of Vocation Awareness Week began in 1976 when the U.S. bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year to call attention to the importance of upholding vocations and praying for those discerning a religious vocation and celebrating those who were in ordained ministry and consecrated life. In 1997, the celebration was moved to the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and in 2014, the USCCB’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations moved the observance of National Vocation Awareness Week to November to influence youth and young adults by engaging Catholic schools and colleges.

Resources for dioceses to utilize during National Vocation Awareness Week, including homily aids, recommended reading and discernment tips, prayers of the faithful, and bulletin-ready quotes are available on the CCLV website.

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