National Vocation Awareness Week is celebrated this year during the week of November 5-11. This is an annual observance begun in 1976 to promote vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life. During this week we are encouraged especially to pray that worthy candidates will hear and listen to the Lord calling them to ministry. We are also asked to pray for those already serving in ministry as priests, deacons or consecrated religious.
Naysayers will try to tell us that God is simply not calling candidates, that the ordained or consecrated life is outdated in our time and that we simply have to consider downsizing. Well, none of this is true! God is calling. It’s just that oftentimes those being called are not hearing, are not listening, are not paying attention to that call. There are so many distractions vying for their time, their attention, their commitment. This is why we need celebrations such as the National Vocation Awareness Week to raise awareness of God’s call and to encourage those already in ministry to keep up their good work. We should also boldly encourage those we believe to be called to respond to that call. And we need to pray! (Matthew 9:38)
In our Diocese of Covington I have designated the coming year as a Year of Prayer for Priestly Vocations. It begins with solemn vespers at our Cathedral Basilica on the Solemnity of Christ the King (Sunday, 26 November) and concludes on the same solemnity next year. You will be receiving more information on this year in the mail and through the Messenger.
For our part, let us celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week enthusiastically by praying for vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life. And during this week, tell a priest, deacon or religious “thank you” for having answered the call!
Be assured always of my prayers. Please, pray for me.
Yours devotedly in the Lord,
Most Rev. Roger J. Foys, D.D.
Bishop of Covington