Promoting vocations to the priesthood, religious life, diaconate and married life must penetrate the life of the Church in the Diocese of Brooklyn at all levels. It is one of the most urgent tasks that the Church is facing today.
This is why Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is encouraging all the lay faithful of the diocese to Reawaken the Call and for everyone to get involved in this important work of the Church. A culture of vocations can’t be forced, but rather inspired by people’s desire to know, love and serve Jesus Christ in this world, today.
Vocations begin at home! Without the revitalization of family life, vocations will suffer. Catholic homes are to be a privileged place where seeds of vocation are sown and nourished by parents who understand the importance of priesthood and religious life. Ask any priest or religious, and they will say their vocation began at home. My own family was a great source of encouragement for my vocation.
We must rediscover the importance of family life and take seriously the transmission of the Catholic faith to children. As a Church community, we have spent too much time in an atmosphere of fear and discouragement regarding religious vocations and this does not help to produce vocations.
Priesthood and all Church vocations need to be made important and to be seen clearly as an absolute normal choice in everyday life. Too many young men and women are not considering religious vocations because “it was something from the past” or just not relevant today.
Vocations should be fostered beginning in grammar school and reinforced by parents, teachers and priests. It needs to be taught as something significant, essential and valuable.
Example of Christian Witness
Children need to see it in the way their parents offer their example of Christian witness. Children acquire their values from their parents’ conduct. If the parents live their Christian faith and show incredible love for vocations toward priests and religious, the children will be attracted to religious vocations and see it as important and truly worth considering.
So what can your family do today to support vocations? Get involved in your parish and take part in the many service opportunities that are offered. Get to know your priests and religious, listen to their stories and share your life with them.
Speak often about vocations to your children and pray for good and holy priests and religious that you rightly deserve.
Father Suckiel is the vocation director for the Diocese of Brooklyn.