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Recent studies on vocation recruitment (e.g., Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate - CARA) report that provision of a full-time Vocation Director has a direct impact on the quality and the quantity of seminarians for a diocese or religious for a community. A full-time Vocation Director is able to provide the stability and availability that is vital to the mission of vocation recruitment and the formation of candidates. Bishops and religious superiors are highly encouraged to dedicate the resources necessary to support a full-time Vocation Director.
Bishops and religious superiors are highly encouraged to dedicate the resources necessary to support a full-time Vocation Director.
If one is a full-time Vocation Director, it is highly advantageous to visit as many parishes as possible within the diocese or within one’s province in order to be a source of catechesis and evangelization for the parish. One can preach or speak at all the Masses on the importance of vocations, both the priesthood and the consecrated life, within the life of the Church. Visitations are also opportunities to be available to the young people of the parish, by speaking to the youth group, answering their questions, sharing one’s own vocation story, and/or showing videos that highlight the consecrated life or priesthood, such as Fishers of Men or other videos suggested on this Web site. Furthermore, parish visitations are opportunities to enable parishioners to promote vocations through parish vocation enrichment teams (see PVET under Best Practices). Such teams can be a great asset to the parish and an assist to the pastor. This annual visit and reminder to the parish of the importance of vocations cannot be underestimated in the promotion of vocations in the diocese or in the province of the religious community.
The promotion of vocations at every level of Catholic education should not be overlooked. The Vocation Director should take every opportunity which arises to speak to the “young Church” about vocations. Mindful that the Vocation Director cannot be everywhere, he or she should encourage the young priests and religious in the vicinity of the school to make frequent visits. Give them the tools and resources and let them go!
Many Vocation Directors use the opportunities when their seminarians or religious students (novices) are on break from their studies to visit local Catholic schools. They organize their seminarians or the religious in formation and send two per classroom to talk to the students, to share their own vocation stories, to elicit questions, and to explain the priesthood and consecrated life to young people. This is a wonderful opportunity for both the seminarian or young religious to be affirmed in their vocation as they share their story and for the young people in the classroom to be exposed to seminarians or young religious. Taking advantage of opportunities when they are on break from their studies is something that no Vocation Director, Diocesan or Religious, should pass up.
Both Diocesan and Religious Vocation Directors should provide opportunities that allow young people to spend a weekend, either at the seminary or at a religious house or convent. The discerner is allowed to see many seminarians studying for the priesthood or religious preparing for religious consecration and meet with a spiritual director. This weekend can be organized with both social gatherings and opportunities for prayer, private and communal. These opportunities for interaction have proven to be very helpful in the discernment and decision-making process of young discerners.
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