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Ask about religious callings during Vocations Awareness Week

SOUTH CAROLINA—People who have joined the priesthood or entered religious life are typically encouraged to do so by at least three people, according to a study conducted by the Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

“When three or more people encourage someone to consider a religious vocation, he or she is far more likely to take serious steps toward answering that call,” said Father Shawn McKnight, USCCB’s executive director of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.

So if you know someone who may have a calling to consecrated life, don’t hesitate to tell them and support that potential — you could be the difference in someone choosing to become a priest, brother or sister.
In fact, during National Vocations Awareness Week celebrated Nov. 2-8, the diocesan Office of Vocations is challenging everyone to ask three young people if they have ever thought about the priesthood or religious life, said Justin Gaeta, associate director.

He said it is amazing how many students are never asked that question, even in Catholic schools.

“It’s surprising how many students there are, even in college, who haven’t heard that word — and they’re Catholic — and they haven’t heard of vocations,” Gaeta said.

So talk to your children, talk to your students, talk to the kid sitting next to you in church.

It is just one of many things people can do to support vocations.

It’s also important for youth to see priests and religious sisters as real people, so encourage your children to ask questions and talk to their pastor about his own childhood and how he followed God’s call, Gaeta said.
In addition to nurturing the discernment process, Gaeta said the diocese’s seminarians also need support.

There are currently 12 men engaged in the process. Read their profiles at www.CharlestonVocations.com and say a personal prayer for them.

“Praying for them is the No. 1 way to provide support,” Gaeta said.

He also encourages people to write letters to the seminarians, noting that their addresses can be found on the website.

Another suggestion from the USCCB advises each person to reflect on their own vocation and strengthen their personal relationship with Christ, and educate young people about the importance of silent prayer and taking the time to truly listen to God’s voice in our hearts.

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