“Each man and woman, even before encountering Christ and embracing the Christian faith, receives with the gift of life a fundamental calling: each of us is a creature willed and loved by God; each of us has a unique and special place in the mind of God. At every moment of our lives, we are called to foster this divine spark, present in the heart of every man and woman…” – Pope Francis, from his message for the 2022 World Day of Prayer for Vocations

National Vocation Awareness Week (NVAW), Nov. 6-12, 2022, 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.

In his message for the 59th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, entitled “Called to Build the Human Family,” Pope Francis focuses on the broader meaning of “vocation” within the context of a synodal Church, a Church that listens to God and to the world. “Vocation, like holiness, is not an extraordinary experience reserved for a few,” he writes. Just as there is a ‘holiness of the saints next door’ (cf. Gaudete et Exsultate, 6-9), so too there is a vocation for everyone, for God’s gaze and call is directed to every person.”

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.

“Come and See”: Visit to St. John Vianney Seminary Nov. 17-19

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. 10.

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 Encourages Dioceses to Foster Vocations in Their Local Communities (Nov. 2020)

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

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

Priestly Vocations
Twenty-one 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 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 Nov. 13. Click here for details.

Permanent Diaconate

The Timon class of deacon candidates was ordained on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022 at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew. Members of the Parmenas class were instituted as acolytes on Jan. 31, 2022 with ordination scheduled to take place two years following. The newest class of deacon candidates began formation to the permanent diaconate in September 2021. They are known as the Nicholas class. (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 “Meet & Greet” with Deacon Jerry to learn more about vocation to the permanent diaconate. Upcoming gatherings are scheduled for Oct. 26, Nov. 16 and 30. Click here for 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