December 9, 2010

National Vocation Awareness Week to Be Celebrated January 9-15

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WASHINGTON — The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week, January 9-15.

The week begins on the Church’s celebration of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which falls on January 9 in 2011.The feast marks the beginning of Jesus’s public ministry.

Vocations week celebrates vocations to the priesthood, diaconate or consecrated life in particular. During these days families and the parish community are urged to nurture the faith of their children to prepare them to respond to whatever God’s call is for them.

"National Vocation Awareness Week gives parishes across the country a chance to promote vocations through prayer and education," said Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis, chairman of the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). "It is our responsibility to encourage young people to be generous as they discern the possibility of a call to service in the Church. Parents, families and parish communities must be involved in this work, since vocations recruitment is everyone’s responsibility. All need to foster a culture of vocations."

Father Shawn McKnight, executive director of the USCCB Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations (CCLV), noted the many voices that can communicate God’s call.

"Just as Jesus needed to hear with his human ears the voice of the Father, so our young people need to hear words of encouragement from parents, other family members, friends and the parish. God’s call comes through the Church in this way."

To support efforts during Vocations week, a special prayer card and suggested prayers of the faithful and bulletin-ready quotes, are available from the USCCB vocations website or

"One reason some young people do not consider a call to the priesthood or consecrated life is the fact that they were never asked," said Sister Mary Joanna Ruhland, RSM, Associate Director of CCLV. "There are many ways to help young people see the beauty and joy of these vocations. Catechists are in a key position to do so. Materials to assist them can also be found on the USCCB website."

The observance of National Vocation Awareness Week (NVAW) began in 1976 when the National Conference of Catholic Bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year as the beginning of NVAW. In 1997, this celebration was moved to coincide with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

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