Did you know that in our country, compared to 50 years ago, there are 20,000 fewer priests and 130,000 fewer religious sisters? At the same time, the Catholic population has continued to grow steadily. The number of priests being ordained has risen slightly in recent years, but the increase in ordinations still isn’t keeping pace with priests retiring.
The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week, November 5-11, 2017. This annual event is a special time for parishes in the United States to actively foster and pray for a culture of vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and consecrated life. National Vocation Awareness Week, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations, is designed to help promote vocation awareness and to encourage young people to ask the question: “To what vocation in life is God calling me?”
When Pope Francis was elected, he bowed before the world and asked for prayers, showing that in the Christian life, there are different calls but not different classes. The Father assigns differing roles, but has the same love for each of His children. The question we are asked to reflect on is: “How can I humbly serve?” In the best marriages, spouses put each other first. The most effective priests make parishes their priority. The holiest nuns and brothers, “do small tasks with great love.” The key to discovering one’s vocation is casting aside the quest for status and pleasure and focusing on service.
God has a plan for our life, our vocation: Priesthood, Religious Life, Marriage, or Single Life. During Vocation Awareness Week, please pray that young people in today’s society will hear and respond to God’s call.