National Vocation Awareness Week will be celebrated in the United States January 9-14, 2012. It is a time for Catholics to remember that each of us has a calling from God. The week challenges each person to pray to hear the Voice of God and to discern their unique calling, which is both gift and mystery.
“We are all called to holiness,” said Diocesan Vocations Director Father Ned Shlesinger. “We also have a special calling from Jesus to serve as a priest, religious, in the married state or single life. We need to be aware of that call and reflect upon it.”
In his letter to Diocesan faithful that will be available in parish bulletins the weekend of January 7-8, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge writes, “During this special time we pray for the grace to continue to live a life worthy of the call we have received.” Bishop Burbidge notes the responsibility the faithful share in encouraging men and women who we believe may wish to discern a vocation to the Priesthood or Consecrated Religious Life.
The Diocesan Vocations Office sponsors a Priesthood discernment group which meets monthly. Father Shlesinger said the program affords the men the opportunity to learn about the Priesthood and explore their questions in a group setting. He said it also provides him with the opportunity to know the candidates and help them in their discernment process.
Bishop Burbidge expressed his gratitude to everyone “for praying for our twenty-two seminarians by name and asking God to give them the joyful gift of perseverance.” One of the twenty-two, Deacon Don Maloney, is scheduled to be ordained to the Priesthood on June 2 at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Three of the seminarians are scheduled to be ordained to the Transitional Diaconate on April 14. They are Mr. Nick Cottrill, Mr. Tom Duggan and Mr. Ryan Elder. The Diaconate Ordination will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pinehurst.
Information on the Diocesan Vocations program, including lesson plans and materials for all ages, is available at http://www.raleighvocations.org/. Additional information is available on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Vocations website, http://www.foryourvocation.org/.
Father Shlesinger will discuss Vocations on the next week’s editions of Catholic Perspective and Catholic Weekly, the Diocesan television and radio programs. Catholic Weekly can be heard on WDNC AM-620 in the Triangle, Sunday morning at 9:30 am, and on WBPL 9.27 FM in Wilmington, Sunday afternoon at 3:30. The programs will be available on the Diocesan website on Monday, January 9.
Read Bishop Burbidge’s Vocation Awareness Week letter: English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)