Promoting Vocations from the Inside Out

Parish

St. Augustine
Howell, MI
Diocese of Lansing
United States

More Info

For more information, email Deacon Bill.

Vocation Basket turns families into active vocation promoters

"We found that families enjoyed the opportunity to have a focus for family prayer. The children especially liked having the vocations cross and candles set up in a visible place at home all week. It seemed to make quite an impression on them. Receiving the basket at the end of Mass on Sunday while the community prayed a vocation prayer gave public witness to the need for more vocations." Deacon Bill Sirl, Howell, MI

The need it meets

Gives parents an easy and natural way to engage in family prayer, while at the same time making vocational awareness something that grows and matures from the inside of the family.

Where it came from

Deacon Bill Sirl worked with the parish vocation committee and came up with the idea of a "vocation basket" for his parish, St. Augustine in Howell, MI, after seeing a "vocation chalice" going home with a family each week at a neighboring parish.

How it works

  1. One family keeps and uses the Vocation Basket for one week, after which they return it to the pastor.
  2. At the end of Sunday Mass, the congregation prays a prayer for vocations while another family comes forward to receive the Basket from the pastor.
  3. The following items are contained in a Vocation Basket:
    • DVDs on the Priesthood (including "Fishers of Men" by the U.S.C.C.B.)
    • literature about vocations
    • prayers about vocations
    • books about saints
    • information for parents on how to foster vocational discernment among their children
    • standing wooden cross inscribed with the words,"Master of the Harvest"
  4. The program runs continuously throughout the school year.

The results

In a small parish of 400 families, 30 families have participated each year; the program is now in its second year.

  • It has made families noticeably more aware of the need and beauty of vocations.
  • More families than before are praying for, talking about, and encouraging vocations.
  • Already one young man is actively discerning the priesthood as a direct result of the program.
  • As the younger children grow older, we are hoping to see more concrete fruits.

    "My husband and I found the vocation basket to be a great support in teaching our kids that true happiness comes from living out God's will for us, whether as a priest, consecrated person, or single or married layperson. Our parish's vocation basket brings together prayer, awareness of vocation opportunities, and holy examples of the lives of the saints in a way that is of great value to families. Kids can be overwhelmed by our society's emphasis on celebrity and material things, and resources like this help to introduce discussions about what is really important in life." Amy Gillman, Parishioner

Key elements

  • Making sure that the program starts out strong is essential:
    • Personally motivate select families to sign up.
    • One possibility is to bring in a speaker to talk on vocations.
    • St. Augustine's brought in the diocese's traveling vocation team, which spoke to the religious education classes and their parents.
  • In the basket, use good, solid materials that are helpful to parents and interesting for children.
  • Passing along the vocation basket during Mass keeps it on the minds of families, encourages them to sign up for it, and brings the congregation together in prayer for vocations.

How to implement it

  1. Assemble a Vocation Basket.
  2. Promote the program in the bulletin and pulpit prior to kickoff.
  3. Kickoff the program in the fall at the beginning of the academic year with a special talk or program.
  4. Invite the families to sign up and keep the sign-up sheet available for a few weeks.
  5. Have the person in charge of the Vocation Basket program give a reminder call each week to the next family on the schedule.
  6. Have the pastor pass on the Vocation Basket to the next family at the Sunday Mass after the vocation prayer.
  7. Pray for the families!

Fr. Greg Pleiness is pastor of St. Augustine.

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