January’s National Vocation Awareness Week intended to make vocations ‘everyone’s business’

Cardinal Sean O’Malley
Cardinal Sean O’Malley

.- National Vocation Awareness Week will be celebrated in the U.S. Jan. 10-16 to help make vocations “everyone’s business.”

Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, the chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, said the week provides parishes the opportunity to promote vocations through prayer and education.

“It is our responsibility to encourage young people to be generous in their response as they discern the possibility of a call to service in the Church. We must also ask parents, families and our parish communities to assist with this work, vocations are everyone’s business,” the cardinal said in a press release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

The Year for Priests, sponsored by the Vatican, continues through June 2010. Dioceses are highlighting the role of priests in diocesan newspapers, on web sites and with other events.

At the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., the “Women & Spirit” exhibit will discuss the contributions of women religious in the U.S.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is co-sponsoring the exhibit.

The U.S. bishops have named the promotion of vocations to the priesthood and religious life as one of their five priorities. They promote vocations through their website at www.usccb.org.

Fr. David Toups, interim executive director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, said the Church needs to help young people “hear the Lord in prayer so they can recognize Him in their lives.”

“This week reminds us that it is our responsibility to pray for vocations and to invite young people to consider a call to ordained ministry and consecrated life,” he added.

National Vocation Awareness Week began in 1976 and originally began on the 28th Sunday of the year. In 1997, the observance was moved to coincide with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, celebrated on January 10 in 2010.

The Feast marks the initiation of Jesus into public ministry. Its celebration helps the faithful recommit themselves to follow Jesus, the USCCB says. The faithful are initiated through their own baptism to be the Beloved of God, commissioned to proclaim the Good News with their lives.

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