01 Nov 2018
Celebrating Vocation Awareness Week with Salesian Emphasis
By Fr. Dominic Tran, SDB
November 4 to 10 is Vocation Awareness Week. It is a national event in the U.S. to promote a vocation culture with an emphasis on consecrated and priestly vocations.
Let us first and foremost pray for young people and their vocational discernment. Please consider making visits to the Blessed Sacrament, having Eucharistic adoration, and praying the Rosary, particularly in groups in the parish with young people for these intentions. Please tell young people that you and many people are praying for them and their discernment during the week.
Second, let us strive to witness to young people the joy of lives lived for God. Young people need to see holiness, love, dedication, sacrifice, and happiness in all vocations: marriage, the single life dedicated to service of God and others, the priesthood, and consecrated life. They need to see the fulfillment of living for God and others.
Regarding vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, studies from the National Religious Vocation Conference and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate have found that the example of professed religious has the most significant impact on the discernment of new members. This remains the case of those who entered communities across the U.S. since 1993 to the last survey in 2016.
Those of us to whom God has given the gift of consecrated life are reminded that our vocation is a gift of grace. By living our vocation as God’s gift we already help young people in their discernment. New respondents to a vocational call tell us the power of witness. They credit community life, communal prayer, the lifestyle of members of the respective order, and the types of ministries of the order as the most important elements in their discernment. Indeed, by being faithful to God’s call, we continue to witness to the Kingdom of God and its beauty.
Then, let us personally invite young people to consider the possibility that God might be calling them to be priests or religious men and women. We know that young people are “nearly twice as likely to consider a vocation when encouraged by another person. The effect is additive. People who are encouraged by three persons are five times more likely to consider a vocation than someone who was not encouraged by anyone.”
And let us walk with young people on their discernment journeys. We Salesians are specialists in making young people feel at home. Let’s make them feel “at home” with their discernment, and that we are walking with them. The same national studies have found that young people who are active in various ministries are more likely to consider the priesthood and consecrated vocations. Let’s invite them to be more actively involved in the life and ministries of their parishes, schools, and other communities. Let’s share ministries and empower the young members of the Church to live their baptismal vocation as they discern God’s particular callings for them.
From the appreciation that our Founder Don Bosco was an expert vocation guide for young people, we the Salesian Family have come to realize that vocation ministry is “the first and ultimate objective” of Salesian ministry (Salesian Youth Ministry – Frame of Reference, p. 160). We even have in the family a martyr for vocations in Blessed Titus Zeman. Let us continue this Salesian heritage.
Lord, send us and help us to raise more workers for your harvest!