Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More on National Vocation Week

Don't forget to continue to pray for vocations this week! Here is what the current situation in the US looks like regarding vocations in the US:

Each of us are called to serve the Lord and His Church in our own particular states in life, but this week, National Vocation Awareness Week, we highlight those women and men who have done so in the consecrated life and priesthood. We often hear of a shortage of vocations, so this week let us pray for an increase, and rejoice in the ecclesial vocations we do have!

• There are 900 different active and contemplative religious communities of both men and women in the United States.

• There are 4,905 religious brothers serving the Church in the United Sates.

• There are 60,715 religious women serving the Church in the United States.

Holy Orders:
• Deacons: There are 16,935 men who are ordained as permanent deacons in the United States. A permanent deacon is a man, either married or single, who is ordained to the order of deacons, the first of three ranks in ordained ministry.

• Priests: There are 41,489 priests in the United States: 28,061 diocesan and 13,428 religious.

Seminarians: Currently there are 5,368 men studying for the priesthood for the dioceses and religious orders of the United States: this represents an average increase of 2% every year for the past few years.

• Bishops: There are 424 active and retired bishops: 187 diocesan ordinaries, 71 auxiliaries, and 166 retired bishops.

Other Consecrated Persons:
There are also thousands of other women and men living a life of vowed consecration in the Church. In Vita Consecrata, Pope John Paul II wrote of the different forms of consecrated life as “the many branches which sinks its roots into the Gospel and brings forth abundant fruit in every season of the Church’s life.” These diverse forms include: Monastic Life, the Orders of Virgins, Hermits, and Widows, Institutes completely devoted to contemplation, Apostolic Religious Life, Secular Institutes, Societies of Apostolic Life, and new or renewed forms of the consecrated life (cf. Vita Consecrata, 6-12).

In Matthew 9:38, the Lord calls all of the faithful to intercede for an increase in vocations. We are also called to invite worthy candidates to consider the possibility of a vocation to the ordained ministry or the consecrated life. A beautiful way to do this is simply to help them recognize what is already within them: “I see in you the qualities that would make you a good priest or religious.” Vocations are the work of God, but He invites us to pray and encourage others; then after we have cooperated with His grace, He will bring the seed we have planted to fruition.

No comments: