The realities and challenges of vocation ministry

As I get more acquainted with vocation ministry, I realise that among vocation ministers, in our meetings and our informal conversations, we have a common question, that is, how to become more effective in doing this ministry.  Effectiveness, in this sense, means that in doing this apostolate we eventually get vocations for our respective communities.  In our aim to promote vocations to the ordained ministry and religious life, we make an effort to stimulate and cultivate a climate of vocation awareness.

Pray for vocations
I implore the Lord for more vocations

Working in this ministry is seemingly “doing nothing” especially when no one comes and joins our congregation.  There is a danger of getting into a trap of feeling “unfulfilled”.  At times I can be judgmental of people in terms of the priorities to satisfy: material needs and the personal need for interiority and a sense of God.  There are questions that arise within me to ponder on, to express and to seek an answer, if truly necessary.  Is the Church no longer alluring to the promising youth of today?  Do they still care for Christian formation?  Are priests’ example of fidelity and the joyful witnessing of the consecrated and religious Sisters no longer an attraction that can give vitality to this new generation?

I am in a western world society which tends to stress so much on profitability in order to keep going in life.  The world has so much to offer: comfort, pleasure and innumerable kinds of vanities.  Because of these many people, especially among the youth, are wounded by all sorts of crises.

I was once present at a gathering of young people on a quest for meaning, along with youth workers, vocation ministers, school guidance counsellors and social workers.  It was a pity to see the grief within the youth – yet we cannot blame them entirely.  Our society contributes a lot to this.   Despite this, I still believe that many young people are continuing to walk the journey of faith once they get through a process of deeper awareness, of knowing themselves, to be open to be led in the spiritual sense.  It is wonderful to hear some of the youth express a deep spirituality in ways different to that of priests and religious.

I came across a reading of St John Paul II on the 34th World Day of Prayer for Vocations which said:

place all your energies at the service of vocations

This has captured my attention, especially as one who is relatively new to the Australian culture.  I take this message with new insights.  As a Daughter of Divine Zeal I pray and work for more vocations.  It is my wish and prayer for all spiritual children of Saint Annibale, as we journey day by day, through the intercession of Mary – the Mother of vocations – that we can do better for our spiritual uplifting, that we can be a life-giving presence in the care, nurturing and generation of vocations, especially here in Australia.

Sr Felicitas fdz | Image courtesy of


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