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“Vocations are everyone’s business,” Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley wrote in his pastoral letter on vocations released last January. “If you are a Catholic, you have a huge stake in the priesthood and vocations.”
As part of the archbishop’s pastoral initiative to promote vocations throughout the archdiocese, the Office for Vocations is conducting regional workshops where pastors can send representatives from their parish to learn how to form a Parish Vocation Committee.
According to Father Daniel Hennessey, director of the Office for Vocations, the goal is to create in every parish of the archdiocese a committee that will “establish a campaign of prayer in each parish, to promote vocation awareness, and to invite parishioners to consider vocations to either the priesthood or to the religious life.”
The workshops offer “a wide variety of resources for promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious life,” Father Hennessey said. In addition, each parish is given a “Parish Vocations Committee Guide,” to help facilitate the establishment of the committee.
Parish representatives who attend the workshops serve as liaisons between their parish and the vocations office.
“They are asked to go back to their parishes and put into action the things they have heard and learned in the workshops,” explained Father Hennessey.
“Through the work of these committees, the Lord will bless these parishes with many men and women who wish to serve in the vineyard,” he added.
The first of these workshops was held in the West Region Sept. 24 at St. Julia Church in Weston. Nearly 25 parishes were represented at the workshop. The Merrimack Region and one of the South Region’s workshops were held Oct. 1. According to Father Hennessey, over 50 parishes sent representatives to the events.
“They have been a great success,” Father Hennessey said.
Father Michael Harrington, the newly appointed assistant director of the Office for Vocations, who helped coordinate the workshop in the West Region, believes the workshops are very important for people to realize that the work of promoting vocation awareness is the responsibility all Catholics.
“The most important thing, I think, was that those who attended saw that it isn’t just a few people who will be promoting vocations, but that thousands of people are trying to promote vocations in their own parishes and faith communities,” he said.
“The heart of the work that is going to be done through the vocation committees is to raise a culture of vocation awareness,” remarked Father Harrington.
Father Harrington believes that the “culture of distraction” so often mentioned in Pope John Paul II’s writings must be countered with a “culture of awareness,” so that “seeking the will of God in our lives become engrained into who we are.”
“If we can ultimately accomplish this with these committees, then it will be a job well done,” he added.