Every member of the Church is called to holiness. This means we are called to love: to love God and to love each other. The particular way that you live out that call to holiness is your vocation.
Last weekend Fr. Michael Lawinger, whose family are parishioners at St. Anthony’s Parish, was ordained a Priest! What a beautiful gift of answering his vocational call to serve the Lord through the Priesthood!
What is A Vocation?
Vocation in a religious context is how God calls you to serve Him in the world.
The ABCs of Fostering Vocations within your family
A: Answer your children's questions about priesthood or Religious life; never discourage them or ridicule them if they bring it up.
Ask your child to identify a talent which he or she has and imagine together what work or ministry God might want someone to do with that type of talent. Also talk about what good things can be done with the talent right now. For instance, singing talent could be used to sing a baby brother or sister to sleep. Talent at soccer could be used to help someone on the team who needs extra practice.
B: Bring your family to the next ordination mass or prayer vigil for religious.
C: Challenge teens and young adults to consider a Church-related vocation. Tell them about the gifts in ministry you see in them. Encourage them to participate in at least one special vocation event (ordination, vocation retreat, Focus 11, etc.).
Cultivate an attitude of service by responding as a family to the needs of others. Seek out those in need and find ways to care for them.
D: Discuss your own vocation to family life, explaining that God calls some people to priesthood or religious life, some to marriage, and some to life as single laypeople.
E: Encourage your children to be involved in the liturgical life of the parish as servers, lectors, musicians, etc.
F: Find opportunities to affirm the gifts and talents of your children and help them relate their gifts to various career and life choices (including priesthood and religious life).
G: Guide your children to pray that he or she might discover and use the gifts God has given.
H: Have a priest come and bless your home. Have your younger children make a cross to hang in each bedroom in your home.
I: Include the diocesan vocation prayer in your personal and family prayer. Invite a priest, brother or sister to dinner or to an outing with your family.
J: Join together in prayer as a family; include a short vocations prayer when you pray before meals.
K: Keep an eye open for TV shows and movies that present Gospel-centered role models. Watch them with your children and engage in a discussion.
L: Let your children see their Baptism pictures. Have the children make and send a card or note to the priest who baptized them promising him they will pray for them.
M: Make cards for priests and religious that you know, thanking them for their yes to the call of Christ in their lives.
N: Name the gifts of each family member on their birthday. Express gratitude for these gifts.
O: On the date of your child's baptism, talk about the life of the saint for whom the child is named (or the saint’s day it is). The saints are people from all walks of life who tried to make a positive difference in the world, a goal as real today as it was for the saints.
P: Pray for the seminarians of the diocese by name; you may want to “spiritually adopt” one of them.
Q: Quiz your children and discuss with them stories of calls in Scripture (e.g., Mary's response to God in Luke 1:26-39, Jesus' calling the Apostles in Mt 4:18-22, etc.).
R: Remember in prayer by name those who minister to your family and include in your family prayers petitions for those called to priesthood and consecrated life.
S: Set aside a "family time" each week for kids to talk about what is happening in their lives. Let them share about their day.
Share the story of your own vocational choice with your children. Celebrate the occasion of your wedding anniversary as you share the story of your vocation to married life.
T: Talk positively and enthusiastically about the priests, sisters, brothers, and deacons in your parish and share with your children the stories of the priests or sisters who have inspired you and how (e.g. priest at your wedding, or baptized your children, priests or religious from school, etc.).
U: Use books and videos to familiarize your children with saints who are priests or vowed religious. Use these lives of the saints as a springboard for discussion on these lifestyles.
V: Visit Churches and Shrines while on vacation and offer prayers together as a family.
W: Witness to your own vocation by telling stories about how you fell in love. Let the children see the love and care that parents have for each other.
Resources from: Vocation Center; Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s; USCCB