Submitted by Fr. Victor Ingalls
For The Catholic Week
For the past 3-1/2 years, I have been blessed to serve as the Archdiocese of Mobile vocations director. During this time, Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi has challenged me to help build up a “culture of vocations” around the archdiocese.
I have been visiting all of our Catholic grades schools, high schools, college campuses, youth groups and parishes. I have also participated in a number of youth retreats. Each stop I do my best to preach and teach on the topic of “vocation.”
Namely that even before we are “formed in our mother’s womb” (Jeremiah 1:5) God has a plan for our life. He has chosen us for something great. There is a certain way that He intends us to make a complete gift of ourselves fulfilling our unique God-given potential to be a light for Christ in the kingdom of God and to the world beyond.
A great part of the adventure of our Christian lives is coming to discover what this plan is.
Realizing that God’s plans for our lives are vastly greater and more fulfilling for each of us personally than anything we could ever come up with on our own, ideally we seek to conform our wills, desires and expectations with His.
There are four ways in which Christ has inspired His followers to follow after Him, four identities that God the Father may choose us to occupy in His kingdom — religious life, priesthood, consecrated single life and marriage (see www.mobilevocations.com for more). Each of these entail us going all in —”If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
These four vocations are at the heart of our discipleship. Although all four of these identities are becoming increasingly “bizarre” or “counter cultural,” for us as Catholics they are as normal as going to Mass on Sunday or not eating meat on the Fridays of Lent. They are at the heart of our Catholic way of life. At least in theory.
Bringing such considerations back into the forefront of our study, prayer, considerations and conversation with young people is at the heart of trying to renew a “culture of vocations.”
We currently have 21 young men studying for the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Mobile. There are also five of our young men and 4 of our young women that I know of who are in formation for the religious life.
A number of young women have recently expressed interested in further discerning a vocation to the religious life, but not sure about a first step to take.
Thanks be to God the religious women of the Mobile area have organized an event called “Gulf Coast’s Got Sisters.” It is a wonderful opportunity for women 18-40 years to make a first practical step and get to know a variety of Religious in our backyard.
It is normal for us to take our young people to visit multiple college campuses and career fields in planning for their future.
In order for us to have a healthier, more vibrant Catholic community, such visits to religious orders, seminaries, mission fields and Church ministries must become just as “normal” and prevalent in our lives and those of our young people.
I highly encourage the young women of our archdiocese to take advantage of this opportunity and help build the “culture of vocations” here on our native soil.
— For more information, visit http://called2.be/GCGSFeb20 or email firstname.lastname@example.org