by Father Scott Wallisch
Recently, we celebrated Fifth-Grade Vocation Day at Prince of Peace.
As I prepared for the day, I did a little math. I realized that any boys in these classes who had vocations to the priesthood, if they entered college seminary straight out of high school, would be ordained as the class of 2029.
2029? That seems so far away. How different the world may be by then. At that point, we’ll probably have robotic servers and sacristans. One might be tempted to ask, “Why focus vocational efforts on persons who won’t be priests or religious until well over a decade from now? Is it worth the time?’
The answer is, of course, yes. We are a church that has been around for nearly 2000 years and will continue to be on the earth until the Second Coming. We have to focus ont he church’s present needs, but also on its future needs. We have a responsibility to plant seeds in and for our future generations. At this age, they have already been thinking about what they want to be when they grow up, so why not encourage them to think about what God made them to be?
It is an increasingly difficult task, however, with fewer priests and Sisters around to inspire students to think about religious vocations. Our students, though, still need the encouragement to consider whether God is calling them to a vocation of service in the church. A vocation day in fifth-grade helps, but certainly we can do more.
So, with the help of our pastors, principals, and teachers, as well as members of our Serra Clubs and Knights of Colombus, we ar emaking an effort to establish vocation clubs in our Catholic grade schools. These groups, made up of interested middle school boys and girls, would be focused on helping these students learn about vocations, raise vocation awareness among their classmates and families, and pray about their own vocations.
Where these clubs already exist, the boys and girls help lead the activities. The clubs can help facilitate interaction with priests and religious, including possible trips to convents, seminaries, and ordinations.
We are piloting these groups in just a handful of parishes right now, but hopefully someday we can offer vocation clubs to all of our grade school students. Through these efforts, seeds of discernment can be planted in these young boys and girls. It is one more way of increasing our culture of vocations.
I ask that you support these efforts with your prayers. I also invite you to contact me to see how you can help. I thank you. More importantly, the church of the future thanks you.