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A Culture of Vocations

     Ever since I was a young kid, maybe in kindergarten or so, I was constantly in love with the church. I was fascinated with priests lives and their role during the mass too- It was always something so amazing, so attractive to me as a child. As I grew up I began to be inspired by my parish priest who would teach me many things about the faith, encourage me in my faith journey, and who would always answer any question I had ever though of about the faith. Further, he would be my guide to becoming an altar server and on how priests lived. Never did he once put me down, suppress my enthusiasm or tell me to leave him alone. He always invited me to ask, to learn, and to talk about anything and everything. It was through this priests example that my own calling, vocation and my own personal interest in the church, grew and grew, was made to feel that it was a normal calling to have and it was always supported.



     This is a support that is and was very much needed in my life, and in any young man or womans discernment. We live in a society now that does not place importance on religion and that is trying to currently root out all sources of religion form the public sphere. Religion, especially Christianity, is seen as a road block to personal freedom and societies happiness, so it must be restricted to something private that people practice or persecuted against all together.  With this growing climate in society, how can we expect any person to discern their vocation which God is placing within them?

     As a plant needs water and sunlight to grow, so too a vocation needs support and resources to discern and come to actualization. The Parish must be this place- the parish must create a culture of vocations.

    Last weekend we celebrated Good Shepherd Sunday which is often used as the weekend to promote and pray for vocations to the ordained ministry across the world. As Catholics, we cannot let this be an one-time promotion and prayer filled day- it must be a prayer and promotion throughout the entire year, every year. In other words, we must create that culture of Vocations in our parishes, and must make vocations normal. This current society, will not support vocations and will try to call people out of it- as if it was abnormal and an obstruction to freedom. As a people of faith we know that this is totally not the case!  We know how precious and gentle a vocation is, and the parish must be the growing place of that vocation- where it is supported through examples of the faith, through prayer and through a place where it can be brought up as normal, and strongly encouraged.

     We are seeing in the western world a sharp decline in vocations to the priesthood, and we feel the lack of priests in parishes, especially in the rural parishes of our diocese. To begin to solve this problem, I believe, we need to create a culture of vocations within our very own parishes. Since, if they are not encouraged at the one place they should be, then their is a slim chance the seed will survive.

     So may we make vocations normal! May we encourage young people to discern their calling from God, and may they come to see how God is a God of surprises! May we create a culture of vocations where the young are not judged, or ignored but strongly listened to and strongly encouraged.

Happy Easter,



   



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