Events for National Vocation Awareness Week, as declared by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, are planned next week from Sunday, Nov. 5 through Saturday, Nov. 11.
In the Archdiocese of Philadelphia a full schedule has been prepared by the Vocation Office for the Diocesan Priesthood, and there is something for everyone from young children through adults, according to the director, Father Stephen DeLacy.
Actually the observance starts a day earlier on Saturday evening with a Wine and Cheese fundraiser at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary preceded by a 4:30 p.m. Mass. The hope is to attract donors, including members of the Serra Clubs in the Philadelphia area, whose financial support is needed to make the work of the Vocations Office possible.
Youth Ministry Nite on Sunday night will target high schoolers from three youth groups, according to Father DeLacy. This will include joining the seminarians for Evening Prayer and benediction, followed by pizza and a scavenger hunt with religious overtones.
On Tuesday, Nov. 7, there will be a luncheon preceded by a concelebrated Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul including this year’s newly ordained priests.
In past years this luncheon was held on the Monday immediately following the June ordinations and was sponsored by the Serra Clubs. It was changed out of deference to the hectic schedules of the newly ordained in that immediate period.
As in the past, high school students — “about 25-30 mostly upperclassmen,” according to Father DeLacy — will also be invited. At the luncheon the newly ordained traditionally share their vocation story.
Also on Tuesday there will be evening webinars, virtual meetings with seminarians online, with kids in grades four to six and aimed at students in parish PREP programs.
On Thursday, Nov. 7, similar virtual meetings via webinars will be presented in the morning for school children grades five and six in the morning, and grades seven and eight in the afternoon.
Also on that day, students of the classical Regina or Chesterton academies and home-schooled students will visit and tour St. Charles Seminary.
A young adult event on Friday evening, Nov. 10 will be a movie night and social at the seminary’s Vianney Hall featuring the Alfred Hitchcock classic “I Confess,” which revolves around a priest suspected of murder who cannot clear himself without breaking the seal of the confessional.
Next Saturday, Nov. 11 features a Hispanic Outreach Program at St. Patrick Parish, Norristown. The program, planned by Sue Matour of the Vocations Office, will include kids from confirmation classes and youth groups as well as parents.
Promoting vocations to the priesthood is really a year-round task, and at this point Father DeLacy has about 30 young men who are in various stages of discernment as to whether or not the priesthood is their future vocation.
In addition to the Vocation Awareness Week events conducted by the Vocations Office, its website HeedTheCall.org is being completely revamped, according to Father DeLacy. Among other features of the site, each Philadelphia seminarian’s vocation story is available just by clicking his picture.
It’s an invaluable resource especially for young men not yet ready to openly discuss their possible vocation.
The efforts are meant to build a culture of promoting vocations among all the faithful of the church. To borrow a phrase from the U.S. Marines, what Father DeLacy and the Office for Vocations to Diocesan Priesthood are seeking is “A Few Good Men.”