by Father Kevin Abels, Diocesan Vocations Director
I wanted to share with you wonderful news about the Called By Name Program that has been a blessing to our Diocese. The purpose of Called By Name is to encourage the people of our parishes to prayerfully submit names of men and women who they believe would be a great priest, brother, sister or deacon.
We believe that the Lord is calling our young people to consider a religious vocation in the church. At times it could be difficult for them to truly hear the voice of the Lord in the midst of a loud world. This is where we, as God’s people, come in. We have the power to help encourage young people to truly listen and discern God’s plan for their salvation. Called By Name is a program that helps young people to begin to hear and hopefully respond to the Lord in their life. Called By Name is one way the Voice of the Lord can reach our young people.
Last October, Called By Name was presented to all the parishes in the Diocese. I want to express my deepest appreciation to the 30 parishes who worked so hard and participated in this program. They submitted a total of 140 names who were interested in being contacted by the Vocation Office. Out of those 140, 45 were able to take part in a discernment event that took place on March 18, at the campus of St John’s University, Jamaica.
The day began with a prayer service led by some of our women and men religious who support the work of the Vocation Office. During this time of prayer we were invited to offer an intention, asking the Lord to guide our discernment as a way of knowing his will for us all. We then made our way across campus to the Law building where the main part of our day took place. A keynote address was given by Alex Basile who teaches on faculty at Bishop Kellenberg H.S. in the Rockville Centre Diocese. The focus of the keynote touched on the discernment process and how one can begin to discern what God wants of us in life.
Following the keynote address, there was an opportunity for those present to visit in vocation exhibits. Many religious men and women from different communities were available to share their journeys as well as to share information about their community.
Another important aspect was a vocation panel, during which all the Church’s vocations (married, single, deaconate and religious life) was discussed. The day concluded with Mass at the campus church. About 200 students took part along with those from the Called By Name program.
I am happy to announce that because of the great response from the 30 parishes who participated and the 45 people that took part in this event at St John’s, I am extending the Called By Name Program for the rest of the year! I ask those parishes that did not participate to do so by asking their people to prayerfully submit names of men and women so that the Vocation Office can continue to work with the pastors/priests and members of our Parish Vocation Committees in inviting men and women to events scheduled during the rest of the year.
Resources for the program can be found on the Vocation website: www.dioceseofbrooklyn.org/vocations/CalledByName.aspx.