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Day of prayer aims at encouraging Catholics to foster vocations

.- The World Day of Prayer for Vocations will be held on May 15, Good Shepherd Sunday, to underscore Catholics’ duty to foster vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.

“We all have a responsibility to invite young people to consider if God is calling them to the priesthood or consecrated life,” said Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. “Such a call challenges our deepest convictions and leads to the discovery of the deepest truth about ourselves.”

Those who are being called by God, the archbishop said, “deserve our prayers and encouragement to respond generously and without reservation.”

Pope Benedict XVI has announced that the theme for the Day of Prayer is “Proposing Vocations in the Local Church.” His message noted that parish priests, families, catechists and youth ministers should take advantage of “every moment” in the life of the local church for prayer and activities that give children and young people a sense of belonging to the Church and a sense of their responsibility to answer the call to priesthood and religious life.

“We hope that every member of the Church will encourage and promote vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life at home, in the parish, at school and in their community,” said Mercy Sister Mary Joanna Ruhland, associate director of the U.S. bishops’ vocations office.

The bishops’ conference has created two websites, a Facebook page and other social media outlets to help laity build a culture of vocations.

The websites, www.ForYourVocation.org or www.PorTuVocacion.org, include videos of priests and vowed religious giving witness to their vocations and testimony from parents whose children have answered a vocation. The sites also present prayers and discernment resources for men and women, lesson plans for educators, and retreat resources for parishes.

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