5. LOCAL VOCATIONS TO PRIESTHOOD AND RELIGIOUS LIFE
I would like you to be free from worry. An unmarried man concerns himself with the Lord’s work, because he is trying to please the Lord. But a married man concerns himself with worldly matters because he wants to please his wife; and so he is pulled in two directions. An unmarried woman or a virgin concerns herself with the Lord’s work, because she wants to be dedicated both in body and spirit; but a married woman concerns herself with worldly matters because she wants to please her husband. I am saying this because I want to help you. I am not trying to put restrictions on you. Instead I want you to do what is right and proper, and to give yourselves completely to the Lord’s service without any reservations. (1 Corinthians 7, 32 – 35).
Local vocations to the priesthood and religious life should be promoted in parish prayer groups and families. Parish vocation-promotion teams should be established. Special workshops and retreats for young people searching for their vocation in life should take place regularly in the parish. Also – at diocesan level – priests and religious sisters should cooperate and get involved and support vocation promotion prayer drives and workshops. Literature promoting vocations should be made available to young people. On-going communication with young people interested in religious life and priesthood should be maintained with follow – up meetings. Parents should be helped to encourage their children to consider God’s call to the priesthood and religious life.
Wherever an integral pastoral ministry – with families, young people or in the mission field – develops and grows together with pastoral ministry for vocations,there is a flowering of priestly vocations and religious life.Thus,the vocational dimension is not simply the adding on of programmes and suggestions,but becomes the natural expression of the whole community…The family remains the primary community for the transmission of the Christian faith.It can be seen everywhere that many vocations to the priesthood and religious life are born in families where the example of a Christian life in keeping with its calling and practice of the evangelical counsels give rise to the desire for complete self-giving.Care for vocations presupposes,in reality,a strong family pastoral ministry…The witness of priests united to Christ ,happy in their ministry and united in brotherhood among themselves,has a strong vocational appeal for young men. ( Pastoral Guidelines For Fostering Vocations to Priestly Ministry,Vatican City 2012, par.3).