National Vocation Awareness Week (NVAW), Nov. 5-11, 2023, is an annual celebration in the U.S. Catholic Church dedicated to promoting vocations to the priesthood, permanent diaconate and consecrated life through prayer and education, and to renewing our prayers and support for those who are considering one of these vocations.

Read Pope Francis’ message for the 60th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, entitled “Vocation: Grace and Mission.”

Sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations, NVAW began in 1976 when the U. S. bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year for NVAW. Beginning in 2014, NVAW was moved to the first full week of November.

Watch our Vocations Video Series:

Discernment Opportunities

Discerning Priesthood – Mundelein Seminary Visit

Dates: February 16-18, 2024
7 p.m. Friday – 1 p.m. Sunday

Mundelein Seminary invites any man discerning the priesthood to visit campus for a retreat to further discern God’s call to the priesthood. The weekend will include prayer, discussion, fraternity, and recreation.

Attendees are responsible for their own transportation costs, but the rest of the weekend is free with private rooms and meals included. Pickups from O’Hare Airport and Metra are provided.

Register at

St. John Vianney College Seminary Visit – Nov. 16-18

Men ages 16-24, experience a few days in the life of a seminarian during a visit to the campus of St. John Vianney College Seminary in Saint Paul, MN with Vocation Director Father Stephen Durkee. 

Transportation, accommodations, and meals will be provided.

For more information and to register, email Pattie Reynolds at [email protected]. Registration deadline is Nov. 3.

Ways to encourage & pray for vocations:

Each of us in the Church has a key role to play in inspiring vocations, both in the way we discern and live out our own vocations, and by encouraging others, especially young people, to ask: “To what vocation in life is God calling me?” Prayer and reading and reflection on the Scriptures are an especially essential part of this discernment process.

From the Office of Catholic Schools:
Father David Sacha: How a home life oriented around service and Catholic education helped develop an openness to priestly vocation (November 2022)

From FAITH Grand Rapids magazine:
‘Really? You too?!’ Father Colin and Father Stephen are grateful for a friendship and a shared vocation (November 2022)
‘I sensed God calling me to serve’ Father Ferris begins a new tour of duty as a military chaplain (November 2022)
How parents can nurture vocations (July/August 2021)
Read recent Vocations columns

From the USCCB:
20 Ways to Promote Vocations in your Parish or School (USCCB)
Top 10 Things to Promote Vocations (USCCB)
Prayers for Vocations (USCCB)

National Vocation Awareness Week: Faithful invited to pray for an increase in vocations (Oct. 2023)

Additional resource:
10 Ways for Families to Promote Vocations (Archdiocese of Detroit)

Learn more about vocations to consecrated life, priesthood, and the permanent diaconate:

News and updates from the Office of Priestly Vocations
Twenty men from the Grand Rapids Diocese are discerning a vocation to the priesthood. Visit the Office of Priestly Vocations website to learn more, and follow them on Facebook and now on Instagram (@grvocations) for news and updates.

Interested in exploring the priesthood? Learn about discernment opportunities available through the Office of Priestly Vocations. The next gathering of the Explore Priesthood Discernment Group is Jan. 28. Click View details and a schedule.

Permanent Diaconate

The Parmenas class of deacon candidates will be ordained on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024 at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew. Members of the newest class of deacon candidates, the Nicholas class will be instituted as lectors on Oct. 23, 2023.  (Classes are named after the first deacons as called in the sixth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.)

Those interested in examining a possible vocation to the permanent diaconate are encouraged to contact Deacon Jerry Roersma, director, at [email protected]. Learn more about the permanent diaconate program in our diocese.

Attend a Discerning the Permanent Diaconate event with Deacon Jerry to learn more about this vocation. Upcoming gatherings are scheduled for Dec. 4, 2023 and Jan. 8, 2024. View details.

Consecrated Religious Life in our diocese
Learn more about communities of women and men religious serving in our diocese.

Learn more from the USCCB about:

Vocations | Discerning Women | Discerning Men | World Day for Consecrated Life | Parent Resources