The truth is there are places in the world, Asia, parts of Europe and North America and even in Scandinavia where the much maligned and often misunderstood millennial generation is embracing the faith and participating in a ‘vocation boom’.
The decision to devote their lives to the Church seems radical in the context of common stereotypes about millennials, a generation often accused of lack of discipline, scepticism, preference for a ‘hook-up’ culture, and vague spiritual impulses. But the millennials populating seminaries and religious orders defy those clichés by choosing lifelong vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience to God.
In a large part of this ‘vocation boom’ it can be traced to places where Catholics recognise their responsibility to build a vocation culture in their parishes, schools, and families where children and young people are being introduced to the various vocations in the Church starting at an early age. How can we do this?
Fr Bryan Buenger is the Vocations Director for the Diocese of Palmerston North and is currently assigned to the Tararua parishes for the Palmerston North Diocese.
All Catholics can engage in some simple and effective methods of encouraging vocations:
1. Pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. Jesus says, “to beg the master of the harvest to send labourers into the vineyard” (Matthew 9:38).
2. Teach young people how to pray. Pope Benedict XVI said unless we teach our youth how to pray, they will never hear God calling them into a deeper relationship with Him.
3. Invite active young adults and teens to consider a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life.
4. Make it attractive. The challenge for priests and religious is to be joyful models of their vocations.
5. Preach it! Vocations must be talked about regularly for the ‘vocation culture’ to take root in parishes and homes.
Let us pray that Aotearoa-New Zealand can be part of this vocation boom.