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March 11March 11
Earlier this month, we celebrated the Solemnity of All Saints (Nov. 1) and the commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day on Nov. 2).
During Masses on both days, we remembered our brothers and sisters in Christ who have gone before us.
At liturgies on All Saints’ Day, we were reminded that all of us are called to be saints by loving God and loving all our sisters and brothers in Christ.
During a Nov. 1 Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, Cardinal Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, said as much. “The Solemnity of All Saints is a celebration of the universal call of holiness,” he said in a homily as reported on OSV News. All Saints’ Day, he added, not only celebrates men, women and children known for living holy lives in a heroic way, but also people not universally known who lived lives of faith, hope and love.
“We rejoice in the hope that we too will join the saints in heaven, by becoming people of love today,” the apostolic nuncio said.
Reflecting on a Scripture reading for the day, Cardinal Pierre said St. John emphasized that Christians are beloved by God because they are God’s children.
“Becoming a saint means choosing God and choosing to follow his way, but this only matters because God first chose us,” he said. “To be God’s child, to be loved by him, is our core identity. It is who we are.”
As we continue living out our vocations in this month in which we remember those who have gone before us, we pray we all strive to become saints and let the goal of sainthood guide us each day.
And in the process, let us remember our call to live a life of holiness, understanding we can achieve it by doing everyday things—by living lives of faith, hope and love.
As you read in last week’s issue of The Criterion, Nov. 5-11 marks the
U.S. bishops’ annual Vocations Awareness Week. In that issue of the newspaper, we included a 12-page supplement that featured articles highlighting vocations in the Church to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life.
The special section presented an opportunity to raise awareness for vocations and to nurture those who are discerning a vocation to ordained ministry or consecrated life.
“During this week, the Church gives thanks to God for the faithful example of husbands and wives, and joyful witness of ordained ministers and consecrated persons,” said a statement from Bishop Earl A. Boyea of Lansing, Mich., chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.
“We pray that many more men and women will be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit in their hearts as they discern the mission God has for them,” he added.
Bishop Austin A. Vetter of Helena, Mont., a member of the USCCB vocations committee, said the week is a “wonderful time for us to hone our efforts” to promote vocations.
“We should always have vocation awareness and always be asking God for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life around the world and for our own local churches,” he said, underscoring the importance of the weeklong focus “to heighten awareness” about the need for vocations and have this on “the forefront of our minds.”
Bishop Vetter, who also serves as episcopal liaison to the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors, the National Religious Vocation Conference and Serra International, emphasized that National Vocation Awareness Week offers a special opportunity for “redoubling our efforts of prayer that young people would be able to hear the voice—the quiet, gentle voice many times—of Jesus inviting them into a vocation as a priest or religious.
“It’s such a beautiful life, and it’s such a needed life and a life that is so loved by our people,” he added.
While we recognize a week each November to highlight vocations, we should not limit our prayers for people to answer the call to the priesthood, diaconate or consecrated life to a weeklong period.
We encourage people of faith to pray for vocations as often as possible—even daily. And please Lord, may these petitions bear fruit.