By Sr. Mary Joanna Ruhland, RSM
As catechists we have the privilege of assisting the Holy Spirit, who prepares souls to receive God’s call to a particular vocation. Such assistance and preparation requires prayer and instruction, both for the catechists as well as the students. Most times students learn best by the way we model a life of faith to them, by the way that our very own words and actions reflect our integral love for God and willingness to do His will. Pope Benedict XVI taught that witness awakens vocations, and if we reflect on our experience, we can point to significant persons in our lives who nurtured our love for the Lord by their example.
One of the greatest reasons young people never consider a call to the priesthood or consecrated life is the fact that they were never asked! Inviting youth to consider God’s call in their heart helps them recognize God’s love for them and God’s plan for their future (cf. Jer. 29:11). There are many ways that catechists can introduce students to the vocations of priesthood and consecrated life and help them see the beauty and joy of these vocations. One specific tool that catechists can use is a web site developed by the USCCB Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. We believe that the web site,
ww.ForYourVocation.org, can be helpful to catechists who are teaching about vocations. With the goal of educating all the faithful on the importance of encouraging others to consider a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life, www.ForYourVocation.org was designed to offer resources to a broad range of audiences: men and women discerning their vocation, families, educators and youth leaders, as well as vocation directors. As you navigate through these sections of the web site, you will find many helpful resources for each audience.
In the section for Educators and Youth Leaders, catechists will find a wealth of helpful tools, such as Lesson Plans, Videos with interviews, helpful Life Teen Youth Nights, and Best Practices and Resources. For the many catechists who teach children or youth of Latino origin, the site also has resources in Spanish. Where available, the Spanish translation follows the English version on the site.
To top off this multi-media, multi-faceted resource for catechists, we have added a few mediums of social media, which can be helpful to both catechists and young discerning students. Our Facebook page and blog are both accessible through the Vocation website. Check them out, and share them with your students and their families.
This article was originally published in Catechist, February 2011; Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Peter Li, Inc.