Vocations in the Church

This week we celebrate Vocations in the Church: dedicated or consecrated single men and women, Religious Sisters and Brothers, Deacons and Priests, and of course those called to Marriage. “Vocation” comes from the word “to call,” and I think it is appropriate for us all to ponder and pray over the call that God has for us in our lives. Jesus is calling you, by name, to come follow Him as a disciple. It is from that primary foundation of discipleship that our “life-vocation” naturally (or super-naturally!) arises.

Have you decided to follow Jesus? Are you willing to give Him everything? The only way that your life or mine can have any ultimate meaning is if we decide to follow the One who made us, who loves us, who makes us fully alive and free. Any other way of living our life, any other thing that we chase, will ultimately lead to emptiness. What are you chasing?

Our parish vocations

I think a great sign of effectiveness for our parish family is how many of our young people are seriously considering a Religious Vocation. Since this is so counter-cultural and rare, it speaks to the powerful things that God has done and is doing in our midst.

  • Fr. Jonathon Hill is a Maryknoll Missionary priest serving in Africa who was Ordained this past year. He became Catholic at St. Dominic Parish!
  • Ray Herard, a young man who began working in our St. Dominic Media studio years ago, was brought to life in his faith and eventually entered the Seminary for our Diocese. He will be Ordained a transitional Deacon this Spring and a Priest in 2021.
  • We have two sisters, Cheyenne and Phoenix Paradiso, who discerned to become cloistered Nuns while their family lived here in Panama City. Twin sisters who became Sisters!

We also have other young adults from our parish who are at various levels of their own personal discernment. Please keep them in prayer!

Discerning a religious vocation at home

A great question for each of our families to ask is: Are we actively encouraging discernment of a Religious Vocation in our home? Do we expect that every young person very well might have a calling to follow God in a singular way as a priest or nun?

A vocational call is not magic: it needs encouragement, prayer, cultivation and time to be nourished and grow.

I have encountered far too many young men or women who have been actively discouraged by their families when the idea of leaving everything to follow Jesus arises. May it not be so in our families or in our parish! May our encouragement of Vocations in our midst be patterned on St. Paul, who writes in his letter today:

We always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith, that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.

God bless you!