By Father Jason C. Hage | Director of the Office of Vocation Promotion
Editor’s note: The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week November 1-7. “This annual week-long celebration is an opportunity for dioceses and parishes in the United States to uphold and promote vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and consecrated life and encourage the faithful to renew their prayerful support for those currently discerning one of these calls” (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops).
Additionally, Bishop Douglas J. Lucia, on the recommendation of Director of Vocation Promotion Father Jason Hage and his collaborators, has declared a Year of Vocations in the Diocese of Syracuse under the patronage of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church. This special year, which aims to help all baptized Catholics discover their particular vocations, will begin on Saturday, November 14, and conclude on the Feast of Christ the King November 21, 2021. The year will open with a Mass in honor of St. Joseph in the Cathedral followed by a Vocations Summit. The daylong workshop, led by Father Hage and vocation ministry author and speaker Rhonda Gruenewald, will equip Catholic laity to form a vibrant vocation ministry that promotes vocations to the priesthood, marriage, and consecrated life.
Ahead of Vocations Awareness Week and the opening of the Year of Vocations, Father Hage offers the following message to the faithful of the diocese.
I am beyond excited that Bishop Lucia has proclaimed a Year of Vocations in the Diocese of Syracuse! I am also delighted by the fact that he has placed this year of grace under the special care of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church.
Ever since I began my time in this position, the power of prayer has very much been on my mind. I recognize that although programs, initiatives, and outreaches for vocation promotion are necessary, they can only do so much. In the time I have spent ministering to young people, I have discovered that “our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness.”
I believe that Jesus is calling many young people to the priesthood and religious life from our diocese, but they are not able to hear his call because of the culture that they live in. Indeed, they are bombarded with images, noises, and distractions that effectively restrain the young person from entering into silence and solitude. Without silence and solitude, the call will never be heard, understood, and embraced.
This is where you come in. I am reaching out to you to implore your prayers for our vocation promotion efforts, especially during this Year of Vocations. I believe that your prayers will unleash a hidden power upon our vocation promotion efforts in the diocese. Indeed, this could be the linchpin.
I am personally inviting you to consider joining our team of “Prayer Advocates” for the Office of Vocation Promotion. All you would have to do is offer a Holy Hour or Rosary or sacrifices/fasting on a regular basis for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life in our diocese. If all of us commit to this corporate act of prayer, that means we will be constantly storming heaven as a diocesan community for this special intention. I am convinced that this kind of spiritual endeavor will have a lasting impact on the future of our diocese. Please also pray daily for our diocesan seminarians, pictured below!
Please join me in promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious life in our diocese. As you know, I cannot do this alone. I invite all, especially the lay faithful, to collaborate with me in the work of vocation promotion in our parishes. Please consider attending the upcoming Vocations Summit. I also humbly beg of you to make a priority on the list of your prayer intentions an increase in vocations. Your prayers will make all the difference. St. Joseph, pray for us!