By Timothy Armbruster, C.PP.S., Vocation Director
National Vocation Awareness Week (NVAW) is an annual week-long celebration of the Catholic Church in the United States dedicated to promote vocations to ordained ministry and consecrated life through prayer and education, and to renew our prayers and support for those who are considering one of these particular vocations.
Observance of Vocation Awareness Week began in 1976 when the U.S. bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year for the celebration. It was later moved to Feast of the Baptism of the Lord in January. In 2014, after extensive consultation, the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations moved the observance of National Vocation Awareness Week to November to engage Catholic schools and colleges more effectively in this effort.
Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the Chair of the US Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations, reminds us that each of us in the Church has a key role to play in the witness of our vocation in ordinary circumstances, “As we go about our everyday life and most especially this week, we must keep vocations in our prayers, while, at the same time, being a mindful witness with our own vocation. We may never know how our lives may have an impact on someone else’s story. Simply living out our call as disciples of Jesus Christ fully and joyfully in the world bears witness to the love of Christ as He generously bestows on each of us our own personal call.” -from USCCB website
As we meet with Inquirers for Companions last week at Precious Blood Center as well as the Discernment Weekend Oct 6-8, we spoke of vocations, but more importantly we spoke of relationship. Not only inviting others to join us, but also inviting others to get to know us so that they may consider religious life.
I still remember growing up in WaKeeney and the members that came to visit prior to Steve Park’s ordination as well as those who visited during Dennis Meyer’s year of Diaconate. It was those interactions and getting to know the guys that called me and planted the seed to get me thinking of religious life and priesthood. It seemed that even though the members hadn’t seen each other in months it was as if they picked up the conversation right where it left off.
Invite, share who you are and what you do, and encourage others to consider where God is calling them in their lives. As Gaspar challenged, “I wished I had a thousand tongues to proclaim the saving powers of the Blood.” May we invite others to join us.