Phase III: Spreading the Word
Not ready for Phase III yet? View Phase II.
Vocation Prayer Writing Contest
This activity, similar to an art or essay contest, is a way to spur students to think about vocations. They also learn the typical prayer attributes while writing their personal thoughts. This creative process helps students to pray for their own vocation and leads them to a conversation with God at the same time.
Below is an example of an award-winning vocation prayer:
AWARENESS & EDUCATION
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is a method of helping children enter into a relationship with God. It was developed based on Maria Montessori’s educational principles, who studied early childhood development in depth and greatly valued the child’s dignity and immense potential for learning. Find all information at www.cgsusa.org.
But what is this discernment? The word used in Psalm 119:66 means “taste.” It is the ability to make discriminating judgments, to distinguish between, and recognize different situations and courses of action.
For vocations, bringing groups of men and women, separately, to learn, pray, and discern together can help and guide key aspects of discernment, such as prayer, celibacy, seminary, and more.
High School and College-level resources
- The Melchizedek Project is a small discernment group for teenagers and young adults. Materials for the group are provided for free via www.melchizedekproject.com. To guide discussion, members use To Save a Thousand Souls, the definitive guide to discerning priesthood, by Father Brett Brannen.
- The Avow Project was created by Sr. Clare Matthiass, CFR and Vianney Vocations. Our goal is simple: tohelp women draw closer to Jesus as they discern a possible vocation to religious life. We use the tried-and-true model of “discernment groups” because they work. When women learn together, pray together, and support each other, it is much easier to discern with clarity. Avow uses the book Discerning Religious Life and a similar format as The Melchizedek Project. https://www.discernavow.com/
- A Living Sacrifice: Guidance for Men Discerning Religious Life– A comprehensive guide to help men discern if God is calling them to religious life. Written by Fr. Benedict Croell, O.P. and Fr. Andrew Hofer, O.P. https://www.vianneyvocations.com/product/a-living-sacrifice/
- And Mary’s ‘Yes’ Continues– By popular demand comes a beautiful new book written by the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist themselves, providing a much needed inside view to vocation discernment entitled And Mary’s ‘Yes’ Continues. It finally fulfills a longing by many hearts for an intimate resource and generous sharing of the journey into a beautiful vocation. https://www.amazon.com/Continues-Mother-Eucharist-Dominican-Sisters/dp/0998260746
- Regardless of your state in life, you can begin preparing for marriage right now. Whether you are single, dating, seriously dating, engaged, on a break, or grieving a breakup, you can make use of this time for fruitful growth toward becoming a healthy and holy spouse. We believe that intentional discernment of marriage starts today, even if you haven’t given or received an engagement ring. Find resources for discerning marriage at https://www.discerningmarriage.com/
- Other books and videos can be found at our Discerning? page on this website.
Interactive All Saint’s Day
On this day, students should ask the holy men and women in heaven to pray for them. The saints can also be brought to life. Students can:
- Dress in a costume of their favorite saint.
- Research and dress as a particular saint in a “living museum”, giving visitors information about this saint.
- Research and make a presentation based on a saint.
- Participate in a Name that Saint contest, perhaps modeled after a spelling bee.
- Create artwork or write an essay that is part of a “Get to Know the Saints” contest.
- Attend an All Saints Day party.
- Participate in an All Saints Scavenger Hunt.
Natural Family Planning Classes
Why does this matter for vocations? NFP methods promote respect between husband and wife, openness to human life, and recognition of the value of children. Couples that are open to life are generally open to their children answering a call to priesthood and religious life, too. Lastly, statistics show that, in general, most priests come from families of three or more children.
Sophia Institute for Teachers NFP for High School Students
Online Discernment Groups
Online discernment groups are a great way to help discerners find one another. Vocation Ministry created two Facebook groups: Women’s Discernment Group: The Veil and Men’s Discernment Group: The Collar. Hundreds of men and women find resources and meaningful support as they discern God’s will in these groups. Share these and like resources with the young men and women in your high school or college.
Women’s Discernment Group: The Veil
Men’s Discernment Group: The Collar
Reunion Mass & Reception
A powerful way to let children know that priests, religious men and women, and individuals in formation were once just like they are is to introduce them to individuals from their own parish who have committed to living their lives for Christ. Invite these devoted individuals to attend a school or regular Mass as a reunion. Incredibly positive results come from the youth hearing their real-life stories of calling and transformation. After Mass, allowing the guests to reconnect at a small reception is a meaningful way to lift them up and say “thank you!”
Seminary/Convent Field Trip
Students can experience daily vocations life hands-on with a visit to a nearby seminary or convent. Part of the visit will be to see the buildings and structures that make up the grounds and learn about the daily routine of prayer and other duties for the seminarians or religious order.
Equally important is for students to hear stories from men and women who have said, “Yes,” already to God’s call, including what they love most about the life they have chosen.
Visits can include playing games or enjoying a picnic on the grounds. If there is not a seminary or convent nearby, it may be even more important to make a planned trip for students unlikely to ever observe these communities. Your Diocesan Vocation Director may be helpful in arranging a virtual visit if necessary.
Catholic Vocation Bible School: Discovery Mission
Discovery Mission includes a curriculum for five half-day sessions, materials and resources needed packed into a Director’s Kit. These materials can be divided among age groups and various subject matter classes. This program is 100% Catholic and focused on teaching kids about marriage, the priesthood, and religious life. Vocation Bible School is good for kids and the Church!
Check it out here: https://www.vocationbibleschool.com/
Vocation Survey Project
The words of the prophet Isaiah are still powerful today: “I have called you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). We know God is calling hundreds, even thousands, of men and women to serve him as priests and sisters across the globe right now. It is the privilege and responsibility of adult Catholics to help identify, encourage, and support those called to serve the Lord.
An effective way to do this is to invite students from 6th grade through college-age to participate in a Vocation Survey. Through a series of brief questions, students share their level of interest in the possibility of being a priest, sister, or brother. This exercise will plant seeds and help provide a path for those who are truly discerning. Additionally, teachers should fill out a survey that asks which of their students has a possible vocation to the priesthood or religious life. Once identified, these students can join a Discernment Group to explore a religious vocation more fully.
Seminarian Trading Cards
To introduce the seminarians and their stories and encourage prayer for each of them, simple trading cards can be created to be given to the youth. They can have the name and photo on one side and a prayer on the other, or more information can be included about each seminarian. No matter how elaborate the card is, promote prayer and show the children that seminarians are young men, finding their way, exactly like the male youth in the school. This activity can be adapted for priests and religious men and women, professed or in formation.