By Matthew E. Bunson
Catholics hear all the time about a “crisis in vocations.” This is usually discussed concerning vocations to the priesthood. But the challenge of discerning a vocation is not limited to the priesthood.
Everyone is called to discern what God wants them to do with their lives — be it a young man considering the priesthood, young men and women entering the religious life, a man feeling called to the permanent diaconate, a couple deciding on marriage, or someone recognizing a dedicated single life. Today, however, there are many challenges to hearing God’s call, and the task of the Church is to assist men and women to discern the path that will lead them to true happiness and eternal life.
As part of the celebration of National Vocation Awareness Week, Jan. 9-14, The Catholic Answer magazine interviewed Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York on how to build a “culture of vocations.”
Archbishop Dolan served as rector of the North American College, the seminary for Americans in Rome, from 1994 to 2001; was archbishop of Milwaukee from 2002 to 2009; and was named archbishop of New York in 2009. In 2010, he was elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. His blog can be read at http://blog.archny.org/.
The Catholic Answer: Your Excellency, perhaps the best place to start is with a very basic question: What is the Church’s understanding of vocation?
Archbishop Timothy Dolan: There is the generic sense of vocation. There is a precise sense of vocation. And I don’t think we can talk about the precise sense until we understand the generic sense. We have to believe — it is part of the Catholic worldview — that God has a plan for each of us. He is inviting us to live a life that will bring us back to Him. He is calling us to do that. The Latin word for call is vocation. So, in a way, in a broad way, the whole sense of discipleship, the whole sense of divine Providence, the whole sense that God has a plan for us, stems from what you might call this generic sense of vocation.
And in some ways that is the most pivotal question that you must answer: How does God want me to spend my life? Generically, we know that God wants us on a path that will get us back to Him.
A precise sense of vocation is the very particular way that He wants us to do that. And that is where the priesthood, consecrated life, religious life, married life and consecrated single life come up.
I always think that we miss the boat when we don’t speak about marriage as a vocation. I mean, that is the biggest vocations crisis in the Church today, if you ask me. When only half of our Catholic people are getting married, no wonder we have a crisis in the numbers of vocations to the priesthood and the religious life.
I just had a young couple say to me that they had asked their pastor — and he said that they had to ask their archbishop — if it was OK while they were getting married for them to lie prostrate on the floor while they were singing the Litany of Saints. I thought, “Wow, why not?”
Now, that young couple: You talk about having a sense of vocation; they were sealing their vocation...Continue reading HERE.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Archbishop Dolan on building a 'culture of vocations'
OSV's Matthew Bunson, editor of The Catholic Answer magazine, has a great interview with Archbishop Timothy Dolan on the "culture of vocations" in the newest issue, in anticipation of National Vocation Awareness Week, Jan. 9-14. I'll start you off here, and link you to The Catholic Answer:
Posted by Mary DeTurris Poust at 11:02 AM