Why this Ministry?
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Why do we need Vocation Ministry?
Vocations are integral to the life of the Church. The vocation of marriage produces religious vocations, and religious vocations are the human means for the entry point of all Catholics into a grace-filled sacramental life. Fostering strong and courageous vocations in the modern world is the lifeblood of the future of the Church.
When I began my work promoting vocations, I was stunned to discover that only 10 to 20 percent of parishes throughout the country do anything to promote vocations, and of that small percentage, their efforts tend to be minimal, uncoordinated, and therefore lack impact.
However, the promotion of vocations should be at the heart of very family and every parish to foster an environment where each baptized person can joyfully explore the potential of God’s call on his or her life and be given the resources to pray, discern, and ultimately answer God’s call with love and generosity.
Quickly, I came to understand the crisis of vocations in North America. I discovered that in the United States there were 3,500 parishes without a resident priest, in addition to the more than 1,700 parishes without a priest in Canada. Currently, many dioceses, particularly in the north and northeast, are anticipating a 50 percent drop in the number of priests by 2025. That is only a few years away.
At the same time, the number of religious sisters had declined to levels similar to those at the turn of the 20th century and Sacramental Marriages, the seedbed for all vocations, were down 55 percent since 1990. Without a doubt, I now understood why Fr. Victor wanted her to kickstart a vocation ministry at his parish.
Though this reality is sobering, the zeal and desire to promote all vocations is growing! Vocation directors, parish leaders, and parishioners across the country are actively seeking ways to build up marriage and family life and promote the beauty and dignity of vocations.
Pope Saint John Paul II said that “the future of the world and of the Church passes through the family” and that family begins with marriage, by which the world is gifted with the beauty of vocations.
Renewal in the Church and the culture hinges on actively and intentionally promoting and building up vocations. Each person’s vocational call is already written on their heart by the intricate design of God.
Our work, the work of Vocation Ministry, must equip the Church once again to awaken the call of a vocation within the human heart.