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
The work of promoting vocations at a parish will often revolve around the days that we usually promote vocations. Don’t worry if you cannot execute an activity on the exact day. Most parishioners have no idea that these days exist, so they will not know if you have to hold an event the week after its official date. Also, don’t forget my message of starting small. You may decide to make announcements and post a blurb in the bulletin only for some of these dates. Pick the ones that your ministry and parish are ready for and the ones you feel will be most impactful. Just do something!
Calendar of Events
World Day for Consecrated Life – February 2 / Feast of the Presentation of our Lord
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. Bringing awareness to and praying for those consecrated to Christ is a fundamental goal of this ministry.
Today the Church celebrates World Day for Consecrated Life. In this vocation men and women seek an intimate relationship with Christ, many living in convents and monasteries. These witnesses show the world that we are all ultimately called to unite with Christ. Please pray for all those living this radical life, following Jesus.
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.
Prayers of the Faithful:
For those consecrated to God by the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience that they may seek to live their baptismal promises more intensely and have the grace to persevere in their commitment to the Lord and serve with open hearts and willing spirits. We pray to the Lord.
For those who have responded to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to be a consecrated person that they may experience the support of the Church as they continue their growth in holiness. We pray to the Lord.
We pray for those who are consecrated to God by the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. May they always reveal the love of Christ to those they encounter and continue to enrich our world by their dedicated lives of prayer. Lord hear us.
We pray for all those who are discerning their vocation in life, particularly those whom the Lord is calling to consecrated life. May they be given the wisdom to hear God’s call and the courage to respond generously. Lord hear us.
For those who are called to the consecrated life, may they be faithful witnesses of God’s love. May others be inspired to live their baptismal
commitment by professing the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. We pray to the Lord.
For all who actively support the promotion of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, that they may see the fruit of their efforts in a rich harvest of vocations. We pray to the Lord.
That the life and mission of the men and women in consecrated life be a means of sanctification for them and building up the kingdom of God. We pray to the Lord.
For all pastors and parish priests of our diocese, that they will recognize and invite those men and women being called to ordained and consecrated lives to answer the call. We pray to the Lord.
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 vocation ministry is operating in Phase III or IV, consider running Called By Name.
World Marriage Day- 2nd Sunday in February
This special day to salute the beauty of marriage started in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1981, and 2 years later 43 Governors officially proclaimed the day, and festivities spread throughout the United States. World Marriage Day is designated to be celebrated on the second Sunday of February and continues to grow and extend to more countries every year.
The permanent theme for World Marriage Day is “Love One Another” from the commandment given to us by Jesus in John 14. This gospel gives us a simple but challenging message of how our Heavenly Father wishes us to live. Loving one another is a daily decision – simple but challenging.
World Marriage Day can be celebrated in various ways, but most importantly it is done by uplifting those who have said YES to one another in the sacrament of marriage.
Remember: Marriages striving for holiness = Growing, thriving Church and holy vocations.
This weekend we celebrate World Marriage Day! Please pray for the married couples and those in marriage preparation from our parish. Prayer cards will be available at the church entrance. God bless all men and women who said YES to the vocation of marriage!
This weekend we celebrate World Marriage Day! Let’s take time to pray for our spouses and each other to lift our marriages. Do something special for each other this weekend to show your gratitude for your spouse and their YES! Your goal in this Vocation of Marriage should be to get your spouse to heaven. Take time to ponder in your heart how you can do that, starting right now.
Prayers of the Faithful:
For Church leaders: that they may be guided by the Holy Spirit to continue to proclaim the unique meaning of marriage between a man and a woman as a sign of Christ and His Bride the Church. Let us pray to the Lord.
For all those who serve us in elected office: that they uphold and enact laws and policies that promote and preserve the dignity of marriage as the permanent, faithful, and fruitful union of a man and woman. Let us pray to the Lord.
For all those suffering from troubled or broken marriages: that they may be fortified by the grace of the sacrament they have received in matrimony and obtain the assistance they need for healing. Let us pray to the Lord.
For our parish and community: so that, as a family of families, we may find ways to care for our married couples and support the families among us who are the domestic church. Let us pray to the Lord.
For all married couples: that they may strive daily to faithfully and lovingly live out their marriage vows, bearing witness to the love God has for each of us. Let us pray to the Lord.
For all those discerning a vocation to marriage: may they recognize the Holy Spirit working in their hearts and respond generously to the call of God. Let us pray to the Lord.
For those in Phase I:
- Insert bulletin blurb
- Make announcements at Masses
- Give out marriage prayer cards
- Recognize the couple married longest at Masses
- Launch recognizing and blessing married couples celebrating an anniversary on a given weekend at Mass
If you are in Phase II-IV:
- Hold a renewal of vows
- Organize prayer for those in marriage prep as a parish
- Hold a reception for married couples after Masses
- Find a couple to implement , a couple’s ministry, at your parish
- Ask those married persons, who work with teens, to speak for a moment about the joys of marriage
- Ask a few married couples to speak at a celebration like a reception or dance after a renewal of vows
- Priest or Deacon blesses married occurs during Mass.
- The OTHER Vocation: Homily for World Marriage Day
- In conjunction with the start of National Marriage Week USA, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops launched a new mobile responsive website! ForYourMarriage.org offers numerous resources on the meaning and beauty of marriage in God’s plan and provides support to couples at every stage of their journey. Check it out by visiting: www.ForYourMarriage.org
World Day of Prayer for Vocations – Parish – 4th Sunday in Easter
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.
Today is World Day of Prayer for Vocations when we ask you to pray for more vocations, especially to the priesthood and consecrated life. Please pray that more men and women will generously say yes to God’s call in their lives and that their parents will support them.
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 ministry in Phase I:
- Invite parishioners to pray a before or after each Mass.
- Distribute the Vocation Prayer below (or one you are using already) as an easy way to promote prayer at your parish
- Place a prayer in the bulletin or newsletter
- Enlarge a prayer for vocations and put it on a display board or easel at the entrance to church
If your ministry is in Phase II-IV:
- Consider reaching out to other areas of the parish, too, to hold a larger prayer event.
- 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.
- 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 Phase I, Classroom Materials.
- Hold a Family Holy Hour for Vocations where young and old can pray for vocations and their own vocation before the Blessed Sacrament
https://www.worlddayofprayerforvocations.com/ – This website has many resources from Vianney Vocations for this special day!
Uplift Your Priest-
Our priests are being called into great heroic action, all while pouring out an overabundant amount of love and support for all of us. As a gesture of gratitude, the Houston-based Vocation Ministry launches its annual “Uplift Your Priest” campaign on the Monday after the 2nd Sunday of Easter. The campaign inspires the laity to affirm and encourage their priests, especially after Lent and Easter.
Daily Deed Ideas:
- Call/text/email your priest
- Send spiritual bouquets to him
- Drop off popcorn and snacks for movie night
- Send him drawings or paintings by children
- Pray, fast, and offer sacrifices for him
- Send him a Gift Card from Amazon or a restaurant
- Make a family video message/song of affirmation for him
- Create a sidewalk message in front of the church/rectory
- Post a picture of your family with your priest
- Drop off or have dinner/lunch delivered
- Send financial support to the parish, if able
- Hold a “Parade of Love” for him
- Challenge and tag 3 families/individuals to pray a Rosary for him on social media
When posting on Social Media, consider:
Tag Vocation Ministry in your Facebook/Instagram Posts and use the Hashtags #Upliftyourpriest #Vocationministry
Religious Brothers Day -May 1/ Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker
Religious Brothers Day offers the opportunity to celebrate and give thanks for religious Brothers in our lives. It also gives an opportunity to consider how we all invite, walk with and encourage young people to discern God’s call in their life.
Today we celebrate Religious Brothers Day, where we take time to remember the Brothers who played a part in our lives. We ask that you also pray for an increase in vocations to Religious Brotherhood.
Today, May 1st, we celebrate Religious Brothers Day! Brothers live in religious communities. Though not ordained, they take vows and promise to use their talents to serve God wherever the community decides they are needed. Join us in praying for the brothers from our parish/diocese Brother______ and Brother______. Let us praise God for their courage and their generosity. Also, please fill out the spiritual bouquets, which is an offering of prayer, for them. Let us show Br. ______ and Br. _____ our encouragement and gratitude in thoughts and deeds. God bless Religious Brothers!
Prayers of the Faithful:
We pray that the witness of religious Brothers and Sisters in the Church may draw all persons to know, love and serve God in this world. Let us pray to the Lord.
For all religious Brothers and Sisters whom God has sent in the name of Jesus to serve the people in love and service
that they will be blessed with continued faithfulness to Jesus and inspire many more to consider a vocation to consecrated life. Let us pray to the Lord.
We pray God’s blessing on all religious Brothers who have devoted their lives to building up God’s Kingdom of love,
peace, and justice. Let us pray to the Lord.
We ask you to guide all religious Brothers, strengthen them, sustain them and shower them with your grace. May they always be close to you in prayer and reach out, in turn, to help their neighbors in need. Let us pray to the Lord.
- Make an announcement at Mass
- Put pictures and information about brothers from your parish/diocese in bulletin or poster at the entrance of the church.
- Send a care package of practical items to a monastery in your diocese or nearby diocese.
- Spread the word about the vocation and life of Catholic brothers in the bulletin and beyond.
World Priest Day – Celebrated on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
World Priest Day (AKA World Day for the Sanctification of Priests) is all about praying for your priest and his sanctification! Every day our priests pray for us and our intentions as they preside over Mass, hear confessions, baptize our children, or bury our loved ones. Don’t forget to tell your priest you are praying for him. You never know what he is going through, sacrificing out of love for his parishioners.
Today is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and World Priest Day, which is a day set aside to pray for priests, so we encourage each of you to pray in a special way today for Fr. ________ that he is strengthened and renewed each day as he serves as a priest of Jesus Christ.
Prayers of the Faithful:
For Father _____________, our (pastor, associate pastor) in his ministry to the People of (parish name), that the Holy Spirit will come down upon him and light his heart anew for the priesthood, we pray to the Lord.
That we may never take the presence of our priests for granted, as we cherish the celebration of the Mass and are nourished by the Eucharist, we pray to the Lord.
Prayer for Bulletin:
Sacred Heart of Jesus, protect our priest _________ in the midst of his work at our parish _____________. Comfort him in his afflictions. Give him health of body, assistance in his temporal needs, and your blessing on all that he does. We ask the Holy Spirit to come down and light his heart anew for the priesthood and help him to grow in holiness.
- Conduct a prayer drive
- Hold a Holy Hour in honor of your priest
- Make announcement at Mass- if there is a deacon, he can ask parishioners to pray for their priest virtually or in person
- Live stream a Rosary for Priests on a Facebook Live or YouTube channel
- Add prayer for priest in the prayers of the faithful
- Distribute Prayer for Priest prayer cards
- Organize a time for parishioners to pray a rosary for priests.
- Ask parishioners to fill out a spiritual bouquet for your priest(s)
- Email each major organization in your parish, asking them to pray in a special way for their priest on this day using the Prayer Card of a prayer written by Pope Benedict VI in 2008 for this day. You can download a single card or a set of 8 to print on card stock and give to parishioners at Mass.
You can also purchase this Rosary for Vocations brochure from Vianney Vocations.
It contains meditations on the vocation to holiness we all share, on marriage, the diaconate, religious life, and the priesthood.
Purchase St. John Vianney greeting card for Priests from Vianney Vocations at https://www.vianneyvocations.com/product/greeting-card-for-priests/
Priesthood Sunday – Last Sunday in September
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.
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!
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!
Prayers of the Faithful:
For all priests who are ordained to serve our Church, that their ministry may be fruitful and appreciated by the people whom they serve, we pray to the Lord.
For the gift to our (parish or diocese) of vocations to the ordained priesthood, that good men may be drawn to love and to serve the People of God, we pray to the Lord.
For retired priests, that they may experience God’s abundant love as they walk a new path of prayer and servanthood in retirement, we pray to the Lord.
For Father _____________, in his ministry to the faithful of (parish name), that we may affirm, support, and celebrate his gift of service to us, we pray to the Lord.
That we may never take the presence of our priests for granted, as we cherish the celebration of the Mass and are nourished by the Eucharist, we pray to the Lord.
For all priests who struggle with loneliness, declining health, or loss of mobility, that they maybe comforted by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we pray to the Lord.
That this parish family may always embrace our priest(s), and sustain his ministry by our love, our constant prayer, and our trust in his leadership, we pray to the Lord.
For priests who now sleep in peace of the resurrection, and for those who may die this year or this day, that God lead them gently into their eternal reward, we pray to the Lord.
- Buy your priest a set of Thank You cards and give one to each major group within the parish. Collect them and then give him a
basket of cards with treats.
- Encourage parishioners to pray for your priest. 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.
- 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/
Deacon Sunday- 2nd Sunday in October
Purpose: To affirm these men who have said YES to serving the Church in a profound way.
Deacons deserve much affirmation for their tireless work, proclaiming the word of God, giving homilies, performing baptisms, and witnessing marriages, among other responsibilities. These selfless servants are fully ordained clergy, reporting directly to the bishop.
Our hope is that you and your ministry will incorporate this vocation day into your parish schedule. We look forward to seeing how you celebrate this special day for your deacons.
What do deacons do:
- Proclaim the Gospel
- Witness marriages
- Perform funeral and burial services outside of the Eucharist
- Distribute Holy Communion
- Preach the homily
- Visit the sick
- Teach the faith
- Provide counsel for couples and individuals
- Work on parish committees
- Advise and assist pastors
Please join Vocation Ministry today, Deacon Sunday, in praying for our deacons, praising God for their gift of service and charity. Also, please take a moment after Mass to fill out a spiritual bouquet, which is an offering of prayer for [each of] our deacons. God bless our deacons!
Prayers of the Faithful:
For all deacons who are ordained to serve our Church, that their ministry may be fruitful and appreciated by the people whom they serve, we pray to the Lord…
For the gift to our (parish or diocese) of vocations to the ordained diaconate, that good men may be drawn to love and to serve the People of God, we pray to the Lord…
That we may never take the presence of our deacons for granted, as we cherish their service to us at church, at home and in the hospital, we pray to the Lord…
For all deacons who struggle with challenges of balancing family, work, and the church, that they may be guided by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we pray to the Lord…
For deacons, who now sleep in peace of the resurrection, and for those who may die this year or this day, that God lead them gently into their eternal reward, we pray to the Lord…
- Call/text/email/write your deacon
- Send spiritual bouquets to him
- Send him drawings or paintings by children
- Pray, fast, and offer sacrifices for him
- Send him a gift card from Amazon or a restaurant
- Hold a reception for your deacons and their wives to say thank you for their service to the parish
St. Stephen, Patron of Deacons and Altar Servers
St. Lawrence, Patron of Deacons
St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, Patron of Clergy
Have your deacon fill out this simple questionnaire to find out about him and how to affirm him best.
A prayer for deacons:
O Christ, You are the source of all ministry in the Church. In response to the needs of the People of God, through the laying on of hands and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, You have called forth and ordained deacons as servants for our Church.
Continue to sustain those You have called to this ministry so they remain ardent servants with gentle hearts, proclaiming the Gospel and serving at Your Holy table.
Help them reflect the real and true presence of Christ, the Deacon, to the needy among us. We also give thanks for those who accompany these men in their journey of service—their wives and families, their parish communities, and all those who call them to respond in faith, hope, and love.
Loving Savior, continue to help Your Church affirm our deacons in their service. Together as one family of faith, may all that we say and do give honor and glory to You and draw others ever closer to Your Sacred Heart. Amen.
Prayer by Most Rev. Douglas Lucia, bishop of Syracuse, NY
Buy Prayer Card for Deacons: https://vocationministry.com/shop/prayer-card-prayer-for-deacons-pack-of-50/
Buy Deacon Thank You Card: https://vocationministry.com/shop/deacon-thank-you-card/
More Deacon Sunday Resources: https://vocationministry.com/deacon-sunday/
National Vocation Awareness Week- – First Full Week of November
This week we celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week, which is an annual week-long celebration dedicated to promoting vocations to the priesthood, consecrated life, and marriage through prayer and education. We ask you to pray for our seminarians and sisters in formation and the couples in marriage prep at our parish.
Did you know that in our country, compared to 50 years ago, there are 20,000 fewer priests and 130,000 fewer religious sisters? 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:
More Ideas for Promotion:
- Make an announcement at Masses about activities
- Order/Print out Church Book Rack Materials
- 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 the priest to bless married couples at Mass
- Suggest to teachers to and show vocation videos to kids
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.
Use these cute name tags for any activity during the week: VBS Name Tags
World Day of Cloistered Life– November 21 (The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
On this day the Church celebrates World Day of Cloistered Life, an ecclesial event for all Catholics to commemorate the hidden lives of cloistered and monastic religious.
A few years ago at a general audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis reminded the Church, “Let us give thanks to the Lord for the powerful testimony of cloistered life.” He also urged the faithful to lend their spiritual and material support to these brothers and sisters of ours “so that they can carry out their important mission.”
Today is World Day of Cloistered Life, an ecclesial event for all Catholics worldwide to commemorate the hidden lives of contemplative religious in cloisters and monasteries. We celebrate this day because the contemplative life is a gift from God to us all, because the entire world spiritually benefits from the prayers and sacrifices of these dedicated religious, even when we do not know it. On this day, the faithful are encouraged to reach out to the cloistered religious in their diocese, through prayer, encouragement, and material support.
This November 21 (the Memorial of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary in the Temple), the Church celebrates World Day of Cloistered Life, an ecclesial event for all Catholics to commemorate the hidden lives of cloistered and monastic religious. Ways to honor the event include prayer (participating in a novena, offering up Masses, etc.), encouragement (writing letters to contemplative communities, visiting them, calling to thank them, etc.), and material support (monetary donations).
Prayers of the Faithful:
For consecrated women and men in convents, cloisters, monasteries, and hermitages throughout the world, that they faithfully live out their hidden vocation and fruitfully implore God’s merciful love for the sake of others, we pray to the Lord.
For young people discerning their specific vocation and mission in life, that they may be granted the graces to respond generously to the will of God and be open to considering the cloistered and monastic life, we pray to the Lord.
For parents and families of contemplative religious and all who make sacrifices to enable cloistered women and men to live out their hidden vocation, we pray to the Lord.
For those who have died (especially…) and all deceased contemplative religious that they may experience the fullness of God’s glory, we pray to the Lord.
- Organize a novena of prayer
- Offer up prayers and send them in the form of a spiritual bouquet to a nearby convent, cloister, monastery or hermitage
- Write letters of encouragement to contemplative communities
- Visit them
- Call to thank them
- Donate monetarily
For more information visit CloisteredLife.com.
The language surrounding vocations can be foreign, even to cradle Catholics. Most do not understand the difference between a sister and a nun or a diocesan priest and a religious order priest. If you feel comfortable with these terms in more, including discernment, convent, and more, you can explain these much better to others.
Download Vocation Ministry Logo
If you are looking for a way to invite new Vocation Ministry committee members and volunteers, here is a brochure to hand out to parishioners.
Download banners to print and promote each of the Vocation Days.
As a new or established vocation 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 sign up 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.
The Christian life should be rooted in prayer; thus, prayer is also the foundation for a faithful Vocation Ministry. If the members allow God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit to lead every aspect of the ministry, then the fruits of the labor will be great. Organizing prayer for vocations is a basic activity that any ministry can carry out. Every activity should be covered in prayer.
Prayer cards available for purchase from religiouslifecatalog.com:
Way of the Cross for Vocations:
A collection of amazing prayers for seminarians, priests, and vocations in general:
AWARENESS AND EDUCATION
Book Rack Materials
The area in the narthex where magazines, prayer cards, and pamphlets are displayed gets passed hundreds of times during the week and often thousands of times on Sunday. Placing materials here can bring vocations awareness to the parishioners in a passive and cost-effective manner.
These materials should inspire parents and youth to think about some aspect of vocations—anything from sharing how to pray a rosary for vocations or about what life is like as a religious sister.
- 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
- Vianney Vocations: This online store offers books, booklets, posters, brochures, and prayer cards used by more than 100 different dioceses.
- VISION Vocation Guide and its VISION VocationNetwork.org are the most comprehensive resources available in print and online for those seeking information on Catholic religious vocations and men’s and women’s religious communities. Order copies of their vocation guide in print at no cost: https://vocationnetwork.org/en/orders For more information on the content, see their article index or read the current digital edition.
- Online 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
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.
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 85% 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.
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.
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.
Sacred Story Youth
Did you know you can teach Pre-K through Grade 8 students the art of spiritual discernment in minutes a day! Teachers and homeschoolers can use this amazing resource as a post-recess activity to help children regain focus, too. Developed over a two-year period and in a completely digital format for download, Sacred Story Youth teaches in age-appropriate ways simple lessons for students designed to:
- Develop daily a relationship with Jesus
- Discover Jesus’ love for you
- Introduce the Ignatian Examen
- Learn discernment for vocations
- Take breaks from technology
Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration Story Hour presents stories for Pre-Readers.
While the sisters enjoy reading the fun children’s stories, they say that the greater purpose behind the videos is to show young people bits of the convent and aspects of the religious life. Sister Regina commented, “If kids aren’t seeing sisters, they might not think it’s a possibility to give their life to God. Hopefully, that awakens the desire in them to give their life to God, or even just to listen to Him and pray more often or grow in their friendship with Jesus.”
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.
Decorate Your Door
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!
Word on Fire has created Catholic scientist posters to hang in your home or parish. These posters feature famous luminaries Fr. Georges Lemaître (formulator of the Big Bang theory), Fr. Gregor Mendel (father of modern genetics), and Sr. Mary Kenneth Keller (pioneer of computer science.)
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 at vianneyvocations.com)
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)
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
The Holy Mass Rosary with Italian Olivewood and Mother of Pearl Beads Purchase Rosary
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?