Phase II: Establishing a Presence
Not ready for Phase II yet? View Phase I.
While God inspires all vocations, programs and activities can invite and encourage individuals to be open to God’s call to a religious vocation. Phase II activities are designed to establish a presence among both adults and youth within the parish.
Extract from the book:A ministry in Phase II has a strong foundation of prayer and is open to the direction of the Holy Spirit in deciding which direction to go next. No idea is too small or large, so the opportunity for the ministry and clergy to provide input should be presented often.During this stage, a ministry is likely focused on asking parishioners to pray for vocations; on increasing awareness and knowledge of vocations among parish youth and among all parishioners at a special event such as a fall festival; and affirming the pastor and priests on a slightly grander scale than was done in Phase I.
Phase II Activity Resources
Adoration for Vocations
St. Matthew says in his gospel, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you: For everyone who asks, receives; and the one that seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” [(Matthew 7:7-8)] Eucharistic Adoration for vocations is highly effective in increasing vocations. Jesus is waiting to be asked, and he is truly present in the Eucharist. What makes more sense than to invite his people to enter into his heart to beg for workers for his fields? Encourage parishioners to storm the heavens with the vital request for more vocations with the knowledge and confidence that no prayer goes unanswered.
We cannot underestimate the power of prayer. Our ministry knew early on that weekly or monthly adoration for vocations would be instrumental in our efforts to bring about a vocation-minded parish and for increasing vocations overall. Praying for vocations before the Blessed Sacrament can be transformative for a parish. Melinda Lynch, our Adoration for Vocations Coordinator, shares how to bring this part of the ministry into your parish.
Prayers for Couples in Marriage Preparations
Engagement is such an exciting time in the life of a couple with so many gatherings and decisions for the wedding to be made. Entering the relationship of married life is a serious one, and it serves as a wonderful sign of hope and strength to every faith community. A parish, which will be the couple’s parish family, can start early praying for each engaged couple.
How about asking everyone to pray for those in marriage preparation in the parish, even by name. Maybe, like many parishes do for those going through Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) candidates, the couples name and photo can be placed at the entrance of the church or in the adoration chapel to remind parishioners to pray for the parish’s engaged couples.
Prayer for Engaged Couple
Community Prayer for Engaged Couple
Prayer Cards for Vocations
Many parishioners want to pray for vocations but do not always remember to do so on their own. Handing out prayer cards at different times of the year allows the ministry to interact with parishioners in a new way. Whether the prayer cards are used year-round after each daily Mass or for personal devotion given in conjunction with a special vocation day like World Day for Consecrated Life, each prayer is important. Prayer cards can also be given out for married couples on Saint Valentine’s Day. The main idea of any vocation prayer is to pray that the individual heart remains open to God’s will, especially for those who have not replied to his invitation.
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The gift of prayer is a beautiful way for parishioners, children and adults alike, to show appreciation for their priest. In Spiritual Bouquets, a parishioner gives the offering of a Holy Rosary, Mass, an hour of Eucharistic Adoration, a Chaplet of Divine Mercy, or other personal prayers for another person. These gifts of prayer are given to priests to lift them up on their special days like Priesthood Sunday, Easter, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or their birthday or ordination anniversary. These gifts of affirmation also balance the more challenging communication the priest often hears, letting them know how much parishioners pray for and appreciate their daily sacrifices.
World Day of Prayer for Vocations – Parish
Established in 1964 Pope Paul VI designated Good Shepherd Sunday to be World Day of Prayer for Vocations which is the day each year that all Catholics are asked to pray to God that he send more workers into the harvest. At the parish level, this is a perfect opportunity to bring together parishioners, young and old, to pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life, especially before the Blessed Sacrament. This event can take many forms from a day of adoration for vocations in the chapel or a Holy Hour in the church with a reception afterward. Advertise this day in all ways no matter if an activity is planned for this event or not as bringing awareness to the fact that we all are charged with praying for vocations is crucial.
Today the Church throughout the world prays for vocations. Will you make a special effort to ask the Lord for more vocations to the priesthood and religious life?
- Pray for the priests who have ministered to you throughout your life, both living and dead.
- Keep our parish priests in your prayers throughout the week.
- Encourage your children, grandchildren, or other young people to consider a vocation as a priest or religious brother or sister.
- Pray a rosary for more young men and women in our diocese to respond to God’s call.
Prayers of the Faithful
On this World Day of Prayer for Vocations, we pray that God will supply holy shepherds for the Church. Let us pray to the Lord.
- That the example of religious sisters and brothers will show forth the Church as the sacrament of salvation for the world. Let us pray to the Lord.
- For all Catholics struggling to discern their vocations, that the Holy Spirit give them wisdom and peace. Let us pray to the Lord.
- That God will call men from our own parish to become priests. Let us pray to the Lord.
- For those in our parish called to profess vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Let us pray to the Lord.
- That teachers and youth ministers will encourage children and teens to respond to God’s call. Let us pray to the Lord.
- That parents will encourage their children to consider the priesthood or consecrated life. Let us pray to the Lord.
- For the deceased clergy and religious who have served our parish, that the Good Shepherd will welcome them with open arms. Let us pray to the Lord
If you are a new ministry, try some simple ideas to promote prayer for vocations on this day. You could invite parishioners to pray a before or after each Mass on May 6-7. You could use the Vocation Prayer below (or one you are using already) as an easy way to promote prayer at your parish: put it in the bulletin, blow it up and put it on a display board or easel at the entrance to church, or download it in English and in Spanish on this website, and hand them out to say after Mass. Simple does NOT mean it isn’t impactful!
If you are part of an established ministry in Phase II-IV, consider reaching out to other areas of the parish, too. Give the teachers, catechist, and/or religion teacher at the parish or parish school some of the new tools for the classroom, which you will find under Phase I HERE. There are so many options for what can be done, encourage the youth to pray in any way possible, whether that is in youth group, choir practice, or Boy Scouts. My favorite prayer card for the youth is Do Whatever He Tells You, which you will also find under Classroom Materials. There are many options for what you can do. Stretch your ministry as you are growing. A ministry with a mission will be on fire for Jesus and Vocations!
https://www.worlddayofprayerforvocations.com/ – This website has many resources from Vianney Vocations for this special day!
Check out these amazing bulletin inserts and prayer card:
AWARENESS & EDUCATION
Most Catholic parishes have some sort of annual festival to raise funds and/or build fellowship within their community. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce parishioners to the Vocation Ministry and explain its mission. Focusing on the interaction among priests and seminarians with the parishioners through games of tug-of-war, arm wrestling, hula-hoop contests, vocation jeopardy, and other games or activities shows young and old parishioners alike that priests are human, too, and can be playful and joyful. Having candy available will attract much attention from the children, especially given that most booths at the festival will require money to participate. With an interested audience, the ministry can start to introduce vocations to all in the parish.
Many Catholic parishes have some sort of annual festival to raise funds and build fellowship within their community, which is a perfect opportunity to show your parishioners who your ministry is and what does vocations mean. Share your enthusiasm for priests and religious; play games with the youth. Show them that those living their vocation are filled with joy. Rhonda Gruenewald shares with you a look into their own parish festival Oktoberfest!
Behind the Scenes setting up a Parish Festival Table:
Festival Table in Action:
The Ministry Fair, sometimes known as a Stewardship Fair, is a perfect opportunity to spread the word about Vocation Ministry. Having a well-decorated table at the fair and asking outgoing members to speak knowledgeably and enthusiastically about the work of the ministry can draw volunteers to the cause. Even if it does not, remember that having a ministry presence there increases awareness of vocations.
Many priests say that they felt God calling them as teenagers. In general, the teen population is the most likely to be contemplating their future. Keeping vocations in the forefront of their minds is at the heart of a Vocation Ministry. For that reason, engaging youth ministers in the Vocation Ministry is extremely beneficial. Their unique perspective will be invaluable in choosing and planning events that will make the biggest impact on the youth of the parish. Katie Hartfiel, author of Woman in Love and a nationally-known youth ministry speaker explains why engaging the youth with vocations is key.
Altar Server Recognition at Mass
Most priests’ first memories of serving the Lord are as altar servers. According to The Class of 2012: Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood, an annual national survey of men being ordained priests for U.S. dioceses and religious communities conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), found that three-quarters of new priests were altar servers. As for religious women, a 2014 survey released by the USCCB found that 16 percent of the newly-professed women religious had been altar servers. While not as influenced by serving as boys, serving at Mass is a factor for girls, as well. Altar server activities recognize and reinforce in young people the joy of serving the Lord.
Recognize the most accomplished or longest-serving altar servers with either a Pendant or a pin from Serra International. Buy them here:
Art Contest for Kids
Promoting vocations can and should be fun! Using a variety of different ways to bring awareness to vocations, especially to the youth, will keep parishioners young and old eager to learn more from the vocation ministry. An art contest allows children of all ages to create their own idea about what some aspect of vocations looks like using any medium they like.
Many dioceses have essay and poster contests, but your parish could, too. Whether the topic is “Saying Yes to God!”, “Let Us Remember We Are in the Holy Presence of God,” “Jesus Came to Serve,” or another creative theme, the idea is to encourage the youth to think about vocations in a new way. Download the editable document below.
Children’s Mass Kit
Many priests say they remember fondly “playing” Mass when they were growing up. They possibly used sheets as vestments and Vanilla Wafers as hosts. Some large families had enough siblings to provide altar servers, lectors, and a few parishioners in the pews to play along. This valuable activity is easy to put into place and will encourage the youngest of parishioners to think about the priesthood as an option for their vocation.
A Mass Kit encourages creative play for your children and grandchildren and allows the Holy Spirit to do a great work in their heart and through what they do best…PLAY!
Christmastime is filled with wonder and joy, especially for children. Having a priest or religious sister or brother visit classrooms of the school, singing Christmas carols, shares the happiness that those living out their vocation have with the children. When a child can see that Christmas brings out such marvel in those serving Christ, they too can ponder the possibility of a religious vocation.
Text lyrics of most Christmas carols: click here to visit catholicdoors.com for a library of 178 song lyrics.
Sadly, most Catholic schools are no longer run by religious sisters and brothers, so having priests, seminarians, and religious in formation visit the school and religious education classes is incredibly important. Exposure to those living a radical life for Christ allows the children to see their unbridled joy and interact with them, hear their vocation testimony, and ask them questions about their vocation call.
Youth need to experience the witness of people joyfully living their vocations – married couples, priests and seminarians, religious, single people. This is one of the best ways to encourage vocations. If young people see how a vocation is lived with joy, then they will have hope that they can also live that vocation with joy.
Here is an example – seminarians participating alongside youth in a lighthearted game. This sort of joyful interaction can have a very beneficial positive effect on vocational discernment!
Marriage Awareness at Youth Event
Our youth are not automatically looking to be married as they did in past generations due to our rapidly changing society. A parish should take every opportunity to not only uplift married couples but also show the vocation in a beautiful light. At a youth ministry event, all the adults working with the teens who are married could speak for a moment about the joys of marriage, sharing some joyful aspect of their courtship or life as a married couple.
I was on the Life Teen Core Team for a few years before vocations captured my heart, and at one of our events, we celebrated the vocation of marriage. Each core team member was asked to submit a picture of the happy couple on their wedding day and then speak to the teens for 1-2 minutes about their courtship and the joys of the sacrament of marriage. I was blessed to tell everyone that David brought me to the Catholic Church and to my relationship with Jesus!
National Vocation Awareness Week
National Vocation Awareness Week is an annual week-long celebration dedicated to promoting vocations to the priesthood, consecrated life, and marriage through prayer and education, and to renew our prayers and support for those who are discerning their vocation. Even if you live outside of the US, do consider bringing awareness to vocations throughout the year! You can find great ideas and resources for the week at vocationawarenessweek.com which is updated each year a 2-3 months before the event.
Remember my advice to start small, keeping in mind what the parish, ministry, and pastor are ready for. If you pick one of the ideas below to introduce vocations at your parish, school, CCE, or Youth Ministry, you will be doing great! Just do something!
Blurb for bulletin
Did you know that in our country, compared to 50 years ago, there are 20,000 fewer priests and 130,000 fewer religious sisters? At the same time, the Catholic population has continued to grow steadily. Many factors have contributed to the decline: growing secularism, a lengthened period of adolescence, attitudes about celibacy, etc. During Vocation Awareness week, please pray that young people today will hear and respond to God’s call. And do your part to encourage them to consider the priesthood and religious life.
Prayers of the Faithful
- During National Vocation Awareness Week, we pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. We pray to the Lord.
- For Catholic educators, that they will inspire students to remain open to God’s call for their lives. We pray to the Lord.
- That young men from our parish will respond to the Church’s tremendous need for priests. We pray to the Lord.
- That young women from our parish will remain open to consecrating themselves to God as religious sisters. We pray to the Lord.
- That Christian parents, as they live their own vocations to marriage, will encourage their children to consider becoming priests, brothers, or sisters. We pray to the Lord.
- That seminarians receive the graces they need to become holy priests who speak the truth with love. We pray to the Lord.
- For all priests and religious men and women who have served our parish, both living and dead. We pray to the Lord.
SAMPLE WEEK OF ACTIVITIES for a Vocation Ministry
Sunday: Place a bulletin insert from Vianney Vocations into each bulletin. If there are leftovers, this is perfect for the church book rack or vocation table. Pass out a prayer card for vocations or download and print this “ABCs of Fostering Vocations” page.
Monday: Parish School Religion teachers and catechists introduce vocations to their students, using the Quick Reference Vocation Guide. Pass out a prayer card to each student – Marian prayer card “Do Whatever He Tells You”from Vianney Vocations.
Tuesday: Assembly for 5th-8th graders: guest speaker. Could be a priest, seminarians, and/or a sister or brother. Hopefully, there is time for them to visit classrooms of schoolchildren who will be eager to meet them.
Wednesday: At the all-school Mass, ask an alumnus who graduated from the parish and answered God’s call to become a priest, brother, or sister to visit and tell their vocation story.
Thursday: CCE classes are given new Vocation Worksheets from Vianney Vocations to introduce vocations in a fun way to the students. Teachers could also use Stories of Service or grade-level lesson plans from the USCCB website
Friday: Pass out this prayer card for students at junior high youth ministry from Prayer to Know My Vocation
Saturday: Give out this prayer card: Prayer to Know My Vocation at a High School/Young Adult Bible Study or Youth Ministry.
“For I know well the plans I have in store for you… plans not for woe, plans to give you a future full of hope.”-Jer. 29:
Other Ideas for promotion
- Make an announcement at Masses about activities
- Order/Print out Church Book Rack Materials
- Free copies of Vision Magazine at vocationnetwork.org
- Ask a priest to speak about vocations at Masses
- Ask a priest or sister to
- Give out at Masses/Youth group/religious classes
- Invite married couples to speak to youth group
- Ask priest to bless married couples at Mass
- Suggest to teachers to and show vocation videos to kids
Order resources from www.vocationawarenessweek.com
Use these cute name tags for any activity during the week: VBS Name Tags
One way to expose all types of vocations to the youth in the parish school, religious education classes, or in youth ministry is by holding a vocations panel discussion. The main idea is to show the children examples of men who love the priesthood, joyful religious men and women, and married couples who strive to keep Christ at the center of their marriage. As often as possible, the youth need exposure to their models of holiness to gain inspiration to live such lives.
- Tell us your name, vocation, order.
- When and how did you hear your call to this vocation?
- What training is necessary for your vocation?
- What do you find most challenging about your vocation?
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!”
Promoting vocations should not occur only on parish grounds. Education and conversation about vocations between parents and children at home are crucial to keep everyone thinking about God’s will. The table tents, which combine explanation about vocations from the catechism and a question for each day of the week that families can discuss, give all members of the family time to reflect on their present or future vocation. If you fold the paper in thirds and tape it closed, the paper should stand up on its own.
Table tents that contain conversation starters for discussions to have at your own dinner table will be passed out after Mass. If you fold it in thirds and tape it closed, the paper should stand up on its own.
Are you looking for a ready-made Vocation Backpack for Girls and Boys that can be signed out at Mass or from the parish library, then look no further?
We have assembled the perfect books and bears to put in this cute backpack.
If you want to assemble your own items to put in a Vocations Back Pack, you have come to the right place! Kids will love these cuddly and fun items.
The object of this game is not only to have fun, but also to challenge the youth to think more openly about various vocations. The answer to each question is found in the parentheses at the end of each question. Feel free to use the questions in any order as some are admittedly more difficult than others. Good luck and have fun!
Walking Rosary for Vocations
How to Pray the Rosary for Children
Buy Package of 50at catholiccompany.com
What better gift to give our children than the practice of saying the Rosary on a regular basis? This entertaining and educational pamphlet, How to Pray the Rosary for Children, gives parents and religious educators a useful guide to explaining both the way the Rosary is prayed, as well as the reasons we pray it. Designed to catch and keep the attention of young children while presenting the timeless truths of the Faith, this pamphlet is useful both at home and in the classroom.
Some youth will be inspired by a talk or saying a Rosary with a priest, and others will feel moved more by seeing a well-made video highlighting all or one vocation, even one aspect of a vocation. The potent visuals and musical scores of some of the more dramatic videos can imprint feelings about a vocation that will not happen in any other way.
The Chosen Final
1:00 (all ages)
Priests of Steel
1:33 (all ages)
11:45 (6th & up)
1:17 (6th & up)
The Catholic Priesthood
2:59 (all ages)
The Gift of Priesthood
9:44 (9th & up)
Why Priesthood?, Fr. John Muir by Life Teen
5:10 (9th & up)
Follow Me: Journeys to Priesthood
13:00 (9th & up)
Five Paths to Priesthood
29:55 (9th & up)
How Should I Discern the Priesthood w/ Fr. Robert Barron
2:12 (9th & up)
The Great John Paul on his Vocation
1:54 (9th & Up)
1:32 (6th & Up)
Religious Sisters (Inspirational and Instructional)
For Love Alone Trailer
17:10 (9th & up)
Beloved: The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia
2:49 (6th & up)
Light of Love
1:06:16 (9th & up)
Catholic Sisters In Their Own Words by Life Teen
5:52 (9th & up)
Jesus Calls Women
28:40 (12th & up)
Each fall the Vocation Ministry has the perfect opportunity to guide parishioners in showing their priests appreciation and love. This can take a variety of forms from a note or prayer to a more complicated reception for all parishioners. No matter the form, assuring the priests of the loving care and gratitude of the parish will stay with him long after Priesthood Sunday is over.
Bulletin Blurbs – Example
Please join the Vocation Ministry today Priesthood Sunday in praying for our priests, praising God for their courage and their generosity. Also, please take a moment after Mass to go to the adoration chapel and fill out a , which is an offering of prayer for one or both of our priests. Let us show Fr. A and Fr. B our encouragement and gratitude in thoughts and deeds. God bless our priests!
Announcement before or after Mass – Example
Please join me on this special day Priesthood Sunday in praying for our priests, in praising God for their courage and their generosity. Along with prayer, the Vocation Ministry invites you to take a moment after Mass to write a note of appreciation to one or all our priests. Let Fr. J, Fr. C, and Fr. V know something they have done that has impacted you personally to assure him of your loving care and gratitude for his presence in the life of our church community. God bless our priests!
Here are some ideas on what your ministry and parish can do for this celebratory day:
- Encourage parishioners to pray for your priest. There are hundreds of ways to do this, but here is a prayer card specifically designed for this day.
- Coordinate a parish pot luck dinner to celebrate “Father’s Day”
- Coordinate a coffee cake reception following Masses
- Offer an essay, poster, or poetry contest on this or similar topic: “Why Fr. _____ is so amazing!”
- Include the Priesthood Sunday banner in front of church
- Include a biography of your priest in the bulletin
- Have everyone sign a BIG card for your priest. Your parish may be so large that each Mass has its own BIG card. Great! Then display them at the donut and coffee reception on that Sunday.
- Build him up and let him feel the gratitude and love from your parishioners.
- I LOVE this idea from the Diocese of Peterborough, Ontario, CA! Gather a picture of when your priest(s) was younger and share with your parishioners in the bulletin, church email newsletter, or on a poster.
- Ask your priest ahead of time to fill out the Get to Know Your Priest Questionnaire to know what he would like best. Share his answers in bulletin blurbs leading up to this day or share them all at once on a science fair board on Priesthood Sunday.
Priesthood Sunday Prayer Cards
Available for purchase at https://www.vianneyvocations.com/product-tag/priesthood-sunday/
Reception for Priest on Special Days
A parish-wide reception can be simple or quite complex depending on the budget and desires of the priest and ministry. Either way, creating the opportunity for the priests to receive so much love from family and parishioners alike will make this labor of love worth all the effort. If the Vocation Ministry is in charge of all priestly receptions, including welcome, farewell, ordination anniversary, Priesthood Sunday and the like, the ministry may want to ask for help from other groups. Actually, this is preferred, as it gives many more parishioners the opportunity to take part in such an important event. These events are as much about fellowship within the community as they are about the actual anniversary, so reach out for and graciously welcome all help.
World Day for Consecrated Life
Consecrated life is a blessed gift given by Jesus Christ, who chooses a person to answer his great call of love in a distinct and special way. He requests that person leave behind features of the world such as marriage and wealth to serve their brothers and sisters. Consecrated life is a vocation, like marriage and priesthood, where men and women seek an intimate relationship with Christ. They are witnesses to the world that we are all ultimately called to unite with Christ. Bringing awareness to and praying for those consecrated to Christ is a fundamental goal of the ministry.
We celebrate World Day for Consecrated Life today. Please pray for all those who have made commitments in the consecrated life, especially our own parishioners __________ and __________. Be sure to thank them on this special day. May they continue to be inspired by Jesus Christ and respond generously to God’s gift of their vocation.
Consider one of these activities at your parish for this event to celebrate the men and women who have said yes to serving Christ with their lives:
- Ask the parish liturgy coordinator to place a prayer petition for consecrated men and women in the Prayers of the Faithful.
- Take up a gift card collection, and send them with a card to those consecrated men and women from your own parish. If you don’t have any, send them to a nearby convent or monastery.
- Display the Banner (download below)
- Obtain posters of the consecrated in formation from the Office of Vocations, to place at each parish entrance. If they don’t produce them, consider displaying one of these posters.
- Ask consecrated men or women, which includes religious sisters and brothers, to speak after Mass, at reception, at a school assembly, and/or at youth ministry event.
- If you don’t have any consecrated men or women in your area who can visit, consider playing one of the many Vocation Videos in Phase II, that show consecrated life in a beautiful, inspiring and instructive way.
- Ask parishioners to pray for each of the consecrated men and women.
- If your parish VM is operating in Phase III or IV, consider running Called By Name.
Gift Card drive for Seminarians/Religious Formation
Some items besides gift cards that they might enjoy are: Stamps and Stationary, Coffee, Tickets to events in your town (think ballet, symphony, sports), CD’s of Religious Music, Movies or Movie Tickets, Money, Prayer!
See the full list and explanation here.
Here is a bulletin blurb for the Gift Card Collection:
Would you like to thank our seminarians for studying to become priests for our diocese? Consider giving them an early Christmas present by purchasing a gift card to any restaurant, office supplies store, convenient store, Amazon, or VISA gift card. Please deliver your gift cards to the front office by __________. Thank you for your generous support.