Phase I: Laying The Groundwork
Not ready for Phase I yet? View Pre-Launch.
The activities in Phase I are vitally important for the early and long-term success of a Vocation Ministry—and the peace, energy, and joy of the volunteers involved. They are the foundation upon which all other activities are laid. For that reason, ministries in every stage of development are strongly encouraged to include some of them in their annual plan.
Phase I Activity Resources
As a new or established vocations ministry, the first action of any meeting or activity should be prayer. Before ministering to a parish, the ministry first must be consecrated to Jesus through our Blessed Mother, the model and mother of all vocations. Each ministry should ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede on behalf of the ministry and its activities to ensure they are covered in prayer.
Along with asking for God’s help and Our Blessed Mother’s prayers, ask for the intercession of the saints who strived for holiness on earth and are now saints in heaven praying for our ministry and its activities. While many venerable and saints can be called upon for prayers for vocations, a few, in particular, are well-known intercessors for these activities.
- Saint Alphonsus Marie Liguori, Patron of Vocations and Theologians
- Blessed Junípero Serra, Patron of Vocations
- Saint John Mary Vianney, Patron of Priests
- Saint Charles Borromeo, Patron of Seminarians
- St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, Patron of Clergy
- Saint Monica, Patron of Married Women
- St. Scholastica, Patron of Nuns
Invisible Monastery is a worldwide community of people committed to praying for vocations. Our goal is to attract enough members to pray for vocations 24 hours a day in every diocese.
Members of Invisible Monastery:
- Pledge to pray daily or weekly for vocations
- Choose their type of prayer—Mass intention, rosary, private prayer, etc.
- Renew their pledge annually
- Receive a quarterly e-newsletter with prayers, resources, and ideas for promoting vocations
- May receive occasional communication from the diocesan Vocation Director with prayer requests or other information.
Let us lift in prayer those who have said YES to the vocation of marriage! Check out http://togetherforlifeonline.com/prayers/ for some of the best prayer resources for married and engaged couples. A ministry can easily place a prayer in the bulletin or on a poster board at the entrance to church.
Through prayer we can strengthen, heal, and protect our marriages as Husbands and Wives.
The Por tu Matrimonio website is a space to inspire, assist and encourage Spanish-speaking couples to live their marriage more fully.
Almighty and eternal God,
You blessed the union of married couples
so that they might reflect the union of Christ
with his Church:
look with kindness on them.
Renew their marriage covenant,
increase your love in them,
and strengthen their bond of peace
so that, with their children,
they may always rejoice in the gift of
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Mary Undoer of Knots Marriage Prayer Card
Pack of 50
The Catholic Company: The theology of Mary untying knots goes back to the second century and was understood as Mary untying the knot of sin and disobedience created by Eve. These prayer cards are perfect for teaching and sharing the treasures of our faith. Features a beautiful marriage prayer. Purchase from http://www.catholiccompany.com/
Prayer For Married Couples
Package of 100: $12.00
USCCB: The Marriage Prayer Card focuses on the covenant of marriage and the bond that is created from the union. It serves to strengthen the bond and encourage peace and love within the entire family.
Celebrate the institution of marriage, what the union means, and how coming together and working together promotes unity, strength, stability and helps sustain relationships.
Leave copies in the Church vestibule, great for pre-nuptial and general marriage counseling, for bookstores, for newlyweds and established married couples, for a variety of ages and for any number of years of marriage. Purchase from http://store.usccb.org/
Saints Louis & Zelie Martin Canonization Holy Card
Sts. Louis and Zélie are an example of how the vocation of marriage can be lived out with grace and holiness. This couple is best known as the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux (the Little Flower), but they are models of holiness in their own right. They are only the second married couple to be canonized.
The home that Louis and Zélie created nurtured the sanctity of all their children, but especially their youngest, who is known to us as Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus. Louis and Zélie were beatified in 2008, and canonized by Pope Francis on October 18, 2015. The Liturgical Feast of Saints Louis Martin and Zélie Guerin is July 12.
Prayer is powerful. A prayer drive gives parishioners an opportunity to pray for priests of the parish, and it lifts and bolsters the priest who is the beneficiary of the prayers. Actively encouraging parishioners to pray routinely for vocations, especially before the Blessed Sacrament, brings awareness to the idea of praying for our shepherds.
Blessing Over Married Couples
Christopher West says that “Marriage is a living sign that truly communicates the love of Christ and the Church.” That sign should shine brightly, especially to the youth at the parish. With each couple, standing up during Mass to receive a blessing, they receive graces from the blessing, and the youth see marriage in a positive light. While a perfect activity to do on World Marriage Day (2nd Sunday of February), this can be done any time with equal effect.
This vocation prayer comes from the dioceses of Sioux Falls and Rapid City. The first is the original, the second is adapted for parents and grandparents.
Prayer cards available for purchase from religiouslifecatalog.com and vocationsandprayer.org:
Way of the Cross for Vocations:
A collection of amazing prayers for seminarians, priests, and vocations in general:
AWARENESS AND EDUCATION
- Vision Magazine: Comprehensive resource available in print and online for those seeking information on Catholic religious vocations and men’s and women’s religious communities; since 1987. 800-942-2811. www.vocationnetwork.org/
- ABCs of Fostering Vocations: Parental guide on how to foster vocations within the home from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/vocations/parents/abcs-of-fostering-vocations.cfm
- Litany for priests: Simple but incredibly moving litany by The Discalced Nuns of New Caney, Texas, whose mission is to promote prayer for priests.281-399-0270. 1100 Parthenon Place New Caney, TX 77357-3276
- A Guide to Religious Ministries for Catholic Men and Women: Resource to request vocation material from different religious orders that includes a brief description of each religious order and contact information. $10. 800-433-7771. www.religiousministries.com
- Vianney Vocations: Your parish can buy a Starter Pack with books, booklets, posters, brochures, and prayer cards used by more than 100 different dioceses AND save $$$! A total of 265 pieces, great for stocking the parish book rack. It also includes materials to give to youth, as well as the best books about promoting vocations in the parish. They offer options for Basic, Bilingual, Large Parish, and Premium package!
Give away these promotional items at your festival table or Vocations Fish Fry, Pancake Breakfast or any gathering of parishioners. The t-shirts, magnets, buttons, and/or bumper stickers are a great way to garner support for your priest on Priesthood Sunday. The Cutouts of the Sister/Priest/Religious Priest or Brother are a kid magnet at any gathering.
- sister/priest/religious priest/brother cutout at vianneyvocations.com
- buttons at cafepress.com
- bumper stickers at tedeumfoundation.org
- Vocations Bear
- Nun Bear
- Dominican Nun Bear
- Assorted Bumper Stickers at cafepress.com
- Custom Ribbon Magnet: PRAY FOR OUR PRIESTS at supportourribbons.com
- One Priest Can Change the World Tee Shirt
- Pray for priests bracelet
We know there are youth at every parish discerning their vocation, but most do not have the information needed to make informed choices during this time. A Vocation Ministry can easily help by placing this information at their fingertips in the church book rack, website, or youth room.
Marriage Awareness at Mass
Love at first sight is easy to understand; it’s when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle. -Sam Levenson
Let’s find those couples who have been looking at each other for a lifetime so that all of us can witness that miracle. One easy way to do this is for the priest or deacon at Mass to ask all married couples to stand up, and then he asks those married 5 years or less to sit down. He will add more decades, working his way up to the couple married the longest. Everyone gives them a round of applause and possibly a bouquet of flowers. Equally important is that all the young married couples and children witness the whole congregation supporting this couple and the vocation of marriage.
For Your Marriage www.foryourmarriage.org and Por tu Matrimonio website www.portumatrimonio.org are sites to inspire, assist and encourage couples in English or Spanish to live their marriage more fully. It includes content for dating and engaged couples and family life and parenting, too.
Almost 80% of college students stop practicing their faith at some point during college with only 15% actually seeking a college campus ministry on their own. So, the Newman Connection, named after Blessed John Henry Newman, a giant in the field of theology, philosophy, and education, saw a need to bring the college students and campus ministers together in a practical way. With the help of parish youth ministers around the United States, the campus minister will contact the student about the activities of the campus ministry before the student even arrives on campus.
Vocation Ministries in every parish have a clear and simple motivation for keeping our older teens and young adults practicing their faith. The more they are going to church and participating in college campus ministry, the more they are open to hearing God’s call. According to a recent survey, almost 20% of respondents said they first considered a vocation to the religious life between ages 19-24. Each ministry should reach out to their youth ministers to do their part to keep our young adults practicing their Catholic faith.
Link for more information and to enter in college destination and student contact information:
Free Vocation Curriculum
The Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles have produced a top-quality vocation curriculum for K-12th grade, and it is totally FREE! Introductory Video for the Curriculum
Franciscan University’s Vocations Outreach Program has a variety of assignments for different age levels to use in their classrooms or for homeschooling.
The USCCB has designed Lesson plans, specifically for National Vocation Awareness Week, but it can be used at any time.
Quick Reference Vocation Guide
Teachers are called amidst already busy schedules to be more than knowledge transmitters. Students send out signals as they tackle academic and life issues. As a teacher, you have been gifted with the opportunity to respond to your students and to touch their lives by example, by listening, and by providing meaningful feedback.
The purpose of this Quick Reference Guide is to suggest ways that you can encourage vocations to priesthood, religious life, and other Church leadership without sacrificing time needed to complete your curriculum.
Stories of Service
To lead 4-8th graders in a discussion about God’s call in their lives, have them read 1 Samuel 3: 1-10 and then the story of the Annunciation and then fill out the worksheet. You could have a large group discussion for the younger kids, but the older kids may benefit from a small group discussion of their answers for some or all of the worksheet.
Consider buying a poster for each classroom in your parish, whether that is a school classroom, religious education classroom, or meeting spaces. Another great place to put these posters is above the water fountain because every child will see it. Inspire and educate the kids in any way possible!
Vocations Worksheet for Kids
Vocations Worksheet for Kids at various grade levels. See all the options here
Prayer Card for Children
A simple rhyming prayer to know my vocation. Perfect for Catholic schools or religious education classes in English or Spanish. (50 for $8) from Vianney Vocations
2″ x 8″ Bookmark for Classroom Consecration
Includes prayer for vocations on the front and Memorare on the back.
(50 for $5 available at vianneyvocations.com)
Move from Education to Formation with Vocation Lessons, a new curriculum that inspires Catholic students to appreciate each vocation and become open to God’s call. The lessons that are geared toward each grade from K-12 can be accessed online or in print.
- Christian marriage, priesthood, and religious life formation.
- Compelling lesson plans ‘teach teachers’ about vocations.
- A Family Feature spurring conversation about God’s call among parents and children.
- Creative skits, role-playing, debate, and student materials.
Cards and Gifts for Priests
One of the goals of a Vocation Ministry is to lift-up the parish priests with affirmation in the form of physical cards and/or gifts. Priests are inundated each day with difficult aspects of their ministry. So often they hear from parishioners who have burdens to share. A simple gesture of kindness and gratitude can make a significant impact on the priest, especially one without family nearby. The ministry can also encourage all parishioners to remember their priests as they do a member of their own family, with love, kindness, and generosity. His favorite candy and gift cards can be found through the next activity Get to Know Your Priest.
- Greeting card – You can find a wide variety of cards at: The Printery House
- Restaurant gift card
- Favorite candy
- Bookstore gift card
- Dear Father: A Message of Love for Priests by Catherine De Hueck Doherty. Buy it here at Amazon.com
- In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart — The Journal of a Priest at Prayer. Buy it here at Amazon.com
- Theater gift card
- Thank You Card for Priests – When you want to say thank you to the special priests in your life, order this pack of 5 cards that are perfect for ordination or a simple thank you.
- Framed Art – The perfect gift for the newly ordained, a priest as they celebrate their ordination anniversary, or any priest for that matter! $20.00 framed. 5×7 – Two colors available, gold embossed. Purchase framed art
Get to Know Your Priest Questionnaire
Whether a priest has been at the parish one, 10, or 20 years, most parishioners will not be able to say they know him well. Some only really get to know a priest at his going-away reception. To help with this problem, consider asking him a variety of questions that will help all those he serves to know him better. His answers can reveal his preferences in sweets, movies, hobbies, and books for presents later, too. Consider sharing his answers in a special way at his next reception for a special birthday, ordination anniversary, or anniversary at the parish.
- Who taught you your faith?
- Who is your favorite saint(s)?
- What attracted you to the priesthood?
- When is your ordination anniversary?
- When is your anniversary with our parish?
- What is your favorite church hymn?
- What is your favorite hobby?
- What is a fun fact that people might not know about you?