November 6, 2015

Be Our Guest / Zoe Cannon

A Call to Love: Vocation Awareness

“The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil 4:9).

Zoe CannonThe stories of saints are great models for the way we should live, not just in our everyday routine, but also in the way we practice the faith. The responsibility to be holy people is made easier with grace obtained in conversation with God.

St. John Vianney said, “We are each of us like a small mirror in which God searches for his reflection.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “Love is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being” (#2392).

Are you a reflection of God’s love? The parish family at SS. Francis and Clare of Assisi in Greenwood is committed to answering this question together with prayer.

Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin encouraged the parish, through the Connected in the Spirit planning process, to form a vocations committee. Father Stephen Giannini, pastor, and Father Timothy Wyciskalla, associate pastor, collaborated with Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood, which had a committee for vocation ministry, and the archdiocesan Vocations Office, to help promote all vocations within their parish.

The newly formed committee designed a prayer initiative with a “Traveling Crucifix,” and launched this campaign on Priesthood Sunday, Oct. 25. Families signed up to pray every week in their homes beginning with National Vocation Awareness Week, Nov. 1-7, until next November 2016.

Parishioner Bob Siefker built a small box to carry the San Damiano crucifix, which was donated by the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration. There is also a relic of St. Francis incorporated into the box donated by the Sisters of St. Francis of Oldenburg. A prayer binder was put together with suggested prayers and materials for each family to use during their assigned week. Father Wyciskalla spoke to the students in junior high at the school about vocations, and encouraged them to have their family sign up for a week of prayer.

In the Catholic Church, marriage, single life, religious life and ordained life are recognized as distinct vocations. A priest labors for the salvation of our souls; without ordained hands, the sacraments of the Church are unavailable.

The grace we receive in the Eucharist and the absolution of our sins in reconciliation should never be taken for granted.

Deacons are ordained as a sacramental sign to the Church, “to serve and not to be served.”

The consecrated men and women in a religious community actively participate in service to the world with vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. They may also live in a contemplative community set apart from the world where life in prayer proclaims the Gospel in their own distinct way.

Consecrated single life is a response from God to live a Christian life under the vow of consecrated celibacy.

The strength of God’s kingdom is contingent on every vocation. For most people, married life and openness to the blessings of children is the greatest “call” to love.

Please take time to pray about vocations as a family, and then your children will realize how important it is to discern where God is calling them in life. Help them understand that vocations to priesthood and religious life are joyful options.

If you witness qualities that would make a great priest or religious in the young people of your parish, do not be afraid to encourage them. More information can be found at

Practice these things, and the peace of God will be with you! Amen!

(Zoe Cannon is a member of SS. Francis and Clare of Assisi Parish in Greenwood. National Vocation Awareness Week is an annual weeklong celebration of the Catholic Church in the United States dedicated to promote vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life through prayer and education, and to renew our prayers and support for those who are considering one of these particular vocations.)

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