Since 2014, the bishops of the U.S. have designated the first week of November as National Vocation Awareness Week. This is an opportunity for all of the faithful in our nation to focus on the topic of vocations in our lives and the life of the Church. It is an opportunity to highlight what I consider to be the most important question of our lives: God, what is your will for my life? Needless to say, this is not a topic which can be relegated to one week of the year. Rather, this week simply allows us, as a Church to hone in on its importance in our lives. It serves as an examination of conscience to ask ourselves: How often do I think of God’s will for my life? How often do I encourage others to do the same?
This year, National Vocation Awareness Week begins on November 1, the Solemnity of All Saints. To say that this is an appropriate date on which to begin this week is an understatement. The celebration of All Saints reminds us of our primary vocation as baptized Christians: to be saints. The Second Vatican Council in its Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, strongly reminded us of the universal call to holiness (LG 39-42, see also CCC 2012ff.). Regardless of our state in life, God’s primary desire for us is that we will spend eternity with him in heaven. This is ultimately the answer to the question, “God, what is your will for my life?” Holiness is not the vocation of a select few, but the vocation of all! As Director of Vocations, I play a particular role in constantly reminding the faithful of our diocese of this singular truth.
Upon discovering our universal call to holiness, we also discover that God has given us instruments to help us attain the holiness he desires for us. Namely, the grace of his Son, Jesus Christ, primarily as it is transmitted to us through his body, the Church. As members of the Church, we then discover that there are particular vocations within the Church through which the Lord calls us to become holy, and in turn help others do the same. For this reason, the purpose of National Vocation Awareness Week is also to highlight and showcase these different vocations, namely: Religious Life, Priesthood, Holy Matrimony and Consecrated Celibacy.
To this end, the Office of Vocations, in collaboration with the Office of Religious Men and Women, will be offering various opportunities throughout our diocese and online in celebration of this week. We will kick off the week with a Holy Hour for vocations. Our Lord instructs us to “ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (Lk 10:2). Therefore, our most important task within the ministry of vocations is to pray to the Lord to continue to calling persons to holiness through these particular vocations, and to grant them the strength to say “yes” to his call. We will also offer a talk on discerning God’s will at a Theology on Tap. While recognizing that it is important to ask the question “God, what do you want?”, sometimes it can be very difficult to know the answer clearly. Thankfully, we have the witness of countless saints in the history of the Church to offer us help in discerning God’s voice in our lives. Lastly, we will offer different online events throughout the week. These will consist of interviews and panel discussions about all of the particular vocations in the Church. One of the foundational keys to discernment is knowing the facts. These will provide the faithful of our diocese with a more concrete understanding of each of these particular vocations. It will also allow them to hear the stories of those who have said “yes.” The hope is that this will encourage more people to say “yes” to whatever the Lord may be calling them to in life, especially his invitation to holiness.
National Vocations Awareness Week Events
Holy Hour for Vocations
November 1, 7 p.m.-8 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola
- This event will be livestreamed on Facebook @PBVocations for those who cannot attend in person
What’s Your Vocation?
November 2-7, 7 p.m.-8 p.m. on Facebook @PBVocations
- Fr. Daza-Jaller will interview a panel of persons living in different vocations about their vocation stories, discernment, etc. on Zoom. Submit your questions ahead of time to email@example.com.
- The schedule for these will be as follows:
Theology on Tap
November 4, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. at Sailfish Brewing Company, Fort Pierce
- Fr. Daza-Jaller will give a talk to young adults on “Discerning of God’s Will”. This event will be livestreamed @PBVocations for those who cannot attend in person.
By Father Daniel Daza-Jaller, Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Palm Beach
Special to the Florida Catholic