Bishop commissions faithful from 27 parishes to spread vocations message

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By Paula Wilk
Special to The Anchor

FALL RIVER, Mass. — On October 10 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V.,  installed people from 27 parishes throughout the Diocese of Fall River to be on their parish Vocation Committee. 

The inspiring ceremony celebrated the universal call to holiness that Catholic faithful have, which begins at Baptism. The weekend also marked Vocation Awareness Sunday, making it fitting on many levels. 

Under the guidance of Bishop da Cunha, Sister Paulina Hurtado, O.P., diocesan Episcopal Representative for Religious, associate director of Vocations, and a member of the Diocesan Vocations Board, was the catalyst in organizing the meetings that the volunteers attended on two occasions. After the meetings the Vocation Committee members were invited by the bishop to attend a special installation ceremony. 

Now, with the continued guidance of the Vocations Office they will be able to bring awareness to their parishes for the priesthood and religious life. 

This invitation will continue to be extended to those who wish to start vocation committees within their parishes. This will happen in the months to come as pastors in the diocese receive invitations to send parishioners whom they think would be of service in this ministry. 

With 27 parishes already responding from the initial invitation, there is a strong foundation to build upon. As the invitations and meetings continue, all diocesan faithful are encouraged to continue to, or start to be a catalyst in fostering, encouraging and praying for vocations. 

Jesus has not stopped calling. In the Gospel reading at the commissioning Mass, the rich young man was asked to give up everything and follow Him. This is not an easy thing for anyone to do no matter what state of life. 

The committees feel faithful should reflect on what He asks — turn our will over to God and give our lives in service to Him for the Kingdom of God. 

The challenge for the Apostles 2,000 years ago is the same as it is for Catholic faithful now — to turn our lives over to Christ and give Him our all. It was a challenge then and it remains so today. For those who have said yes to follow Him, it is a yes that must be nourished daily.

This is a very exciting time to be Catholic. The Holy Father’s visit to the U.S. has invigorated many of the faithful and excitement is in the air. We have seen bishops, priests and religious Sisters and Brothers active in the media, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. There is a “vocation boom” happening and there is great optimism that we are on the cusp of a great awakening for our Church and our diocese!

Paula Wilk is a member of the Diocesan Vocations Committee and director of Religious Education at St. Patrick’s Parish in Wareham.

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