The terms “vocation” and “discernment” are used frequently at St. Jude when discussing how we should live our faith. This frequency is intentional, and it flows, in large part, from the Vocations Committee.
Vocations Committee member Tom Wellman is passionate about encouraging others to answer God’s calling for their lives.
“‘Vocation’ is the broad term we use for what God is calling us to do in our lives, and discernment is simply our attempt to understand this calling through prayer and reflection,” Tom says. “The mission of the Vocations Committee is to foster all vocations including religious life, the priesthood, and marriage and family life.”
God is calling all of us to a particular vocation designed to make us holy and build up the Kingdom of God. Often, people mistakenly equate vocation with the priesthood or religious life — however, marriage is also an equally important vocation. Unfortunately, there is a downturn in all vocations. Fewer and fewer men and women are entering into religious life, and marriage rates are now falling precipitously in our society.
This is why the Vocations Committee exists and is an integral part of the life of our parish. The committee meets monthly to brainstorm how they can educate and encourage all parishioners to discern their vocations.
“Our efforts are spent behind the scenes,” Tom says. “For the last few years, we have worked with all St. Jude ministries to consider how vocations play a role in each of their ministries. The most obvious outgrowth of this work is the marriage enrichment events.”
Additionally, the committee is especially focused on helping young people discern their vocations. Tom is encouraged by the increased numbers of altar servers and sacristans, as these roles provide an opportunity to get a unique perspective of the main function of the priesthood — that is, to bring Christ to us through the administration of the sacraments.
“We have had a few young men seriously discern attending seminary,” Tom says. “Although we have not yet had anyone take the affirmative step toward ordination, we continue to pray that God will bless us with young men and women who are called to the religious life.”
In addition to their efforts to encourage individual vocations, the committee also celebrates the priestly and religious vocations that are being answered by our young faithful.
“Every fall we provide a dinner for the men at Bishop Bruté College Seminary,” Tom says. “We take our high school-age altar servers along with us to give them a firsthand view of seminary life.”
This informal night offers an impactful experience for the high school boys who get to see a side of the seminary that most don’t get to experience.
All are encouraged to listen to God’s calling. Even those who have already answered the call to either priesthood or religious life, or marriage and family life continuously need to discern how they are to grow in holiness by becoming better priests and religious, or husbands and fathers, and wives and mothers.
Take to heart the prayer for vocations that is recited before every weekend Mass. If you need support as you discern your vocation, do not hesitate to reach out to Fr. Peter.