Sunday, January 13, 2008

the ABC's of Fostering, Supporting, Nurturing Vocations Within the Home

Holy Orders
Soutenous of A Catholic Notebook posted this on her blog recently. As we are entering Vocations Week, I thought it would be good to share. The original source is The Diocese of Grand Rapids, From the Office of Priestly Vocations: The Few, The Proud; The Called

  1. Answer your children’s questions about priesthood or religious life; never discouraging them or ridiculing them if they bring it up.
  2. Ask your child to identify a talent which he or she has; imagine together what work or ministry God might want someone to do with that type of talent. Also talk about what good things can be done with the talent right now. For instance, singing talent could be used to sing a baby brother or sister to sleep. Talent at soccer could be used to help someone on the team who needs extra practice.
  3. Bring your family to the next ordination mass or prayer vigil for religious.
  4. Challenge teens and young adults to consider a Church-related vocation. Tell them about the gifts in ministry you see in them. Encourage them to participate in at least one special vocation event (ordination, vocation retreat, discernment group).
  5. Cultivate an attitude of service by responding as a family to the needs of others. Seek out those in need and find ways to care for them.
  6. Discuss your own vocation to family life, explaining that God calls some people to priesthood or religious life, some to marriage, and some to life as single laypeople. You can talk about vocations firsthand!
  7. Encourage your children to be involved in the liturgical life of the parish as servers, lectors, musicians, etc. (and see to it that they get there on time).
  8. Explore the feelings you might experience should one of your children choose to give his or her life to Church ministry and discuss with your spouse your feelings and reactions if one of your children should decide to become a priest or nun.
  9. Find opportunities to affirm the gifts and talents of your children, and help them relate their gifts to various career and life choices (including priesthood and religious life).
  10. Guide your junior high child to pray that he or she might discover and use the gifts God has given.
  11. Have a priest come and bless your home
  12. Have your younger children make a cross to hang in each bedroom in your home.
  13. Include the diocesan vocation prayer in your personal and family prayer especially on Fridays.
  14. Invite a priest, brother or sister to dinner or to an outing with your family.
  15. Join together in prayer as a family; include a short vocations prayer when you pray before meals (especially on Friday).
  16. Keep an eye open for TV shows and movies that present Gospel-centered role models. Watch them with your children and engage in a discussion.
  17. Let your children see their Baptism pictures. Have the children make and send a card or note to the priest who baptized them promising him they will pray for him.
  18. Let your children notice an attitude of openness to God’s will in you.
  19. Make time for teenagers in your life; your children and their friends, nieces and nephews, babysitters, etc.
  20. Name the gifts of each family member on their birthday. Express gratitude for these gifts.
  21. On the date of your child’s baptism, talk about the life of the saint for whom the child is named (or the saint’s day it is). There is plenty of information about the background of saints on the Internet. The saints are people from all walks of life who tried to make a positive difference in the world—a goal as real today as it was for the saints.
  22. Pray for the seminarians of the diocese by name (you can get their names, bios, and birthdays on this website); you may want to “spiritually adopt” one of them.
  23. Quiz your children and discuss with them stories of calls in Scripture (e.g. Mary’s response to God in Luke 1:26-39, Jesus’ calling the Apostles in Mt 4:18-22, etc.).
  24. Remember in prayer by name those who minister to your family and include in your family prayers petitions for those called to priesthood and consecrated life.
  25. Set aside a “family time” each week for kids to talk about what is happening in their lives. Let them share about their day.
  26. Share the story of your own vocational choice with your children. Celebrate the occasion of your wedding anniversary as you share the story of your vocation to married life.
  27. Support and participate in any school or parish vocation activities.
  28. Talk about your family’s ethnic or cultural heritage at supper, while driving in the car, or at some other time when family members are all together. Pass along memories of cultural aspects of holiday and other celebrations that you remember.
  29. Talk positively and enthusiastically about the priests, sisters, brothers, deacons in your parish and share with your children the stories of the priests or sisters who have inspired you and how (e.g. priest at your wedding, or baptized your children, priests or religious from school, etc.).
  30. Tell your children why you chose your particular profession. Who helped you form your decision?
  31. Use books and videos to familiarize your children with saints who are priests or vowed religious. Use these lives of the saints as a springboard for discussion on these lifestyles.
  32. Utilize opportunities to share your vocation as parents; what you value, how you came to that decision, and the importance of faith in your life.
  33. Visit Churches and Shrines while on vacation and offer prayers together as a family.
  34. Witness to your own vocation by telling stories about how you fell in love. Let the children see the love and care that parents have for each other.
  35. XYZ – the end of the alphabet, but certainly not the end of ways or ideas to foster vocations at home!
  36. Please check out the above website for more information and prayers for parents.


Marie said...

Here is Australia there is a great discouragement of parents who do not want their children to live a Religious life.

Many Catholic families only have 2-3 children and the parents of the children want grandchildren. Hence very few are encouraged into the Priesthood or the Religious life.

I think in this country we need to prioritize what God wants and not what the parent wants.

We most certainly DO need more Priests!

Peace, JOY & Love to you Esther:) Great post!

Marie xoxoox PS: A lot of Catholics believe that to have LARGE families is irresponsible..go figure!

Soutenus said...

I agree! We used this list in class today (7th grade). The kids read the list and then picked 3 or 4 of the suggestions that they
1. practice in their home
2. would want to utilize when they have families and/or
3. want to suggest to their parents.
It made for a lively class!
PS - Esther, feel free to use anything you find on my site. You are so kind to link back! It is as much a library of information that I feel will help in my classes as it is my own ideas. I love the fact that posts are helpful to others, too.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for posting this. Let us keep an increase of vocations to the Priesthood and Religious life in our daily prayers.

God Bless, Kathy

EC Gefroh said...

Thanks for your comments dear ladies!

Let's continue to pray for vocations.

Easter Almuena said...

My dearest Esther,
AWESOME! I will discuss this with my children. So beautiful!

I have decided that in my own little way, I will not leave church without first saying "Thank you" to the priest who said Mass. Is is always wonderful to see them smile!

Easter Almuena said...

Oh by the way, it is funny... this is really what I wanted to discuss with my children in the first place, so seeing this on your blog is simply awesome! :-)

Thanks Esther!

EC Gefroh said...

Easter, we do the same thing. Especially when it is a good homily, one that hits home.
God bless,