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National Vocations Awareness Week: A Time for Gratitude and a Time to Pray

[caption id="attachment_3666" align="alignright" width="200"]Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP[/caption] In the Scriptures in Ecclesiastes, we are told that there is a time for everything.  During November 6-12, 2016, we celebrate National Vocational Awareness Week.  It is a time to really highlight efforts to foster a culture of vocations by heightening our awareness about vocations in the Church.  In addition to increasing our awareness of consecrated religious life in the Church, this week is a time to pray collectively for others to answer the call to religious life, priesthood and the diaconate. It is also a time when we can express gratitude for the consecrated women and men who have impacted our own life and faith journey. Is there a sister, priest, brother or deacon who stands out for you in your life or faith experience?  Perhaps it was someone who encouraged you at some point and changed your life forever. Perhaps it was someone whom you admired, but never met personally, like Mother Theresa.  Perhaps it was someone who so generously reflected the love of God that your own relationship with God was transformed.  I have encountered several consecrated women and men whose witness and service to God blessed my life and my faith and who also influenced the lives of countless other followers of Christ.  Sr. Thea Bowman, F.S.P.A. and Fr. Glenn Parker, CSs.R, are just two religious who influenced my own faith journey. I never met Sr. Thea Bowman, but I met others who knew her, studied with her and were trained to preach by her and I have read or seen most of the books, articles or interviews that have been published about her. Her importance to me was her inspiration and witness in articulating the African-American experience in the wider Church.  The video of her speech to the U.S. bishops is well worth watching.  I met Fr. Glenn Parker, an African-American Redemptorist priest, many years ago during a retreat which I will never forget because it was such a turning point in my life.  I have never forgotten my experience of prayer during his retreat or the fruit of that prayer at the time. Is there a sister, priest, brother or deacon who has made an impact in your life and your faith?  Why not pray and thank God for them.  Then, join us in prayer for future vocations to continue the work of proclaiming the Gospel and impacting the lives and the faith of others throughout the world. What about you?  Are you being called to consider a religious vocation?  Have you considered answering Pope Francis' call to "Wake-up the world!"  Has the example or interaction with a particular sister, priest, brother or deacon left you with a slight nudging in your own heart that will not go away?  Are you open to even the possibility of a religious vocation?   If you have answered "yes" to any of the above questions, why not give us a call?

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