A Little “v” Vocation

Assisi Sculpture

In Sunday Mass, we often hear the call to “Pray for Vocations.”  This almost totally references priestly vocations.  But vocations are more than just for the ordained or religious men and women.  Lay men and women, whether serving as volunteers or lay ecclesial ministers, can have their own vocation of serviing God through the Church.  Dictionary.com defines vocations as such:

  • a particular occupation, business, or profession; calling.
  • a strong impulse or inclination to follow a particular activity or career.
  • a divine call to God’s service or to the Christian life
  • a function or station in life to which one is called by God: the religious vocation/ the vocation of marriage.

When I was young and chose my profession of nursing, I thought that was my vocation.  But it didn’t have the necessary element of urgency or compulsion in my heart.  I found my true vocation in the RCIA.  It happened like this:


I started as an RCIA sponsor. I responded to a nagging item in the bulletin for the need for sponsors. It didn't seem like it would be hard or real time consuming. It soon became evident that I had joined RCIA for much more than sponsoring a catechumen. I was there for my own deep conversion journey.
From a sponsor I became a member of the RCIA team. I went to every presentation and read every book on spirituality that I could. I had supernatural experiences of the Holy Spirit working in my life. I saw grace in the Holy Thursday foot washing. I saw shimmering over the elements during Eucharist. Prayer time was Kairos time.
One night in the RCIA meeting, the Minister of Faith Formation, who was also responsible for RCIA, announced that she was stepping back from RCIA because of other responsibilities. Besides being shocked (I couldn't imagine it without her), the moment she said it I instantly "knew" that I was being called to take over the coordination of RCIA.
I already worked full time as a nurse in information technology creating electronic documentation tools for nursing. Still, I applied for and was hired in the 20 hr/week position. The 20 hr/week position was really a 30 hr/week job. But I didn't mind. I loved being immersed in the Word and setting up ways that the Holy Spirit could work with the catechumens.
This call I "heard," the feeling of urgency in my soul, the passion I felt for the job and the willingness to change my life for the vision told me I had found my vocation.

A little “v” vocation is called engagement in the leadership world: the amount of emotional attachment an employee (or disciple) has to the mission and the organization.  Everyone is asking how our employees are engaged in their jobs.  That means do they put discretionary time to the work?  Is their work focused on the vision and mission of that team/department/organization?  Engaged employees will increase productivity and income for the organization.  In Church language, that means they will increase their efforts to bring the Kingdom of heaven on earth as Jesus told His disciples to pray for.  Evangelization efforts will increase.
Engagement is more than people liking where they work or being satisfied with their pay and responsibilities.  It is a real emotional attachment to the work that the organization say is theirs to do.
Ecclesial leadership calls for fostering the vocations of all your people.  Pray for Vocations, but also pray for vocations.


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As I write this, it’s just under a month until the first phase of the Church’s Synod on the process of synodality is to begin.