The word vocation comes from a Latin word meaning “to call”.
Through baptism, each individual has a call to follow Christ and people do that in a number of ways. These are recognised as marriage, single life, religious life and ordained ministry. Through these states of life, individuals are called to develop their personal gifts for the building up of the Kingdom of God in their place. Through the vocation to follow Jesus, all are called to the service of others and for the sake of others.
- In marriage couples devote themselves to God through commitment to each other and then in turn to their family life;
- In religious life men and women who are called to serve God and the community, in either an active or contemplative lifestyle and who live in a community;
- In single life men and women, whether by choice or circumstance, serve God and the community of the Church by serving others through the use of their gifts, in whatever circumstance this may be; and
- Those living the ordained life, through priesthood or the permanent diaconate, are men who are called to the service of God and the Church through serving their parish and diocesan community.
Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full” (Jn 10:10). You may feel that, through the gift of a vocation, you can live your life to the full, in Christ.
Knowing my Vocation
We get to know people by spending time with them. It is the same with God. By making space for God in our lives and listening for God’s voice speaking through experiences that touch us deeply within ourselves, as well as those which come from outside ourselves, it is possible to start a conversation with God.
Through prayer, the Scriptures, the sacraments, the advice of significant people and the acts of service we perform for others, we can meet Jesus Christ. We can become conscious of God’s Spirit moving in our lives. We start to become more clear about what is right for us in answering God’s call, even if we encounter some times of confusion and challenge.
Reaching a sense of peace and joy usually is a sign of reassurance.
Who can help me?
To make a good decision, we need to enlist God’s help and especially open ourselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Gathering information and prayerfully considering the options, with their positives and negatives, can help narrow down the field, if the range of choices seems wide. People who know us well, such as family and friends, as well as people already involved in the vocation that attracts us, in conjunction with mentors, spiritual directors and the Diocesan Vocations Director, may be able to offer advice and support in the enquiries and the discernment we seek to make.
Fr Carl Mackander is the Diocesan Vocations Director and will be happy to discuss any of the following vocations with you.
In marriage, a couple shares a relationship that is self-giving, love-giving and life-giving. Married couples share their vows, helping each other to live their lives so as to reflect the love of God present in their marriage. They work at their relationship in good moments and bad moments. They live a life of faith so that their relationship with God may grow and develop.
Together they seek to form a home. With the gift of children, they are the first teachers in Christian faith and values. They may serve the parish community and share their gifts and talents by contributing to a variety of parish ministries and projects.
Marriage education is a vital, yet often overlooked, part of preparing for your life partnership with your loved one. Centacare (link) has a selection of courses for married and soon-to-be married couples to assist you in preparing for, and maintaining, your commitment to each other.
The permanent diaconate was re-established in the Church by Pope Paul VI in 1967, allowing males (who may be married or unmarried) to be ordained deacons.
A permanent deacon is one who has received the Sacrament of Holy Orders “not to the priesthood but to service” (Vatican II: Lumen Gentium 29).
A deacon is ordained to serve the Church through the ministry of word, worship, pastoral care and charity. A deacon may baptise, preach, and officiate at marriages and funerals, but cannot preside at Eucharist, give absolution or anoint the sick.
Deacons enjoy a special relationship with the Bishop. They serve as he directs. At the heart of a permanent deacon’s service is the willingness and devotion to reach out to the poor and marginalised, both materially and spiritually.
There are currently four deacons working in different ministries throughout the Diocese of Bathurst.
Priests in the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst are involved in a range of pastoral and liturgical ministries. Some are involved in specific ministries of prison, hospital and school chaplaincy, ministry to the marginalised and adult faith education. By its nature, the prime ministry of the priesthood is the building of the Kingdom in the context of parish life. Priests do this by proclaiming and preaching the Good News, teaching the Catholic faith, leading the community at worship and ministering the sacraments to God’s people.
As with all vocations, a priest’s life is lived as an expression of his relationship with God. Each one is called to work in collaboration with God’s people, together building the Kingdom of God in the Diocese.
The Diocese of Bathurst needs priests:
- Men who are open to the call of Jesus to “come and follow”
- Men who are open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit
- Men of prayer, striving to grow closer to Christ through God’s people
- Men who are prepared to share the lives, loves, joys and sorrows of God’s people
- Men who can work with their bishop, priests and people to bring about the fullness of God’s Kingdom in their midst.
Religious sisters, brothers and priests belong to a religious order or congregation and are living their vocation within the context of community, whether that community be contemplative or active. They live their lives listening attentively to the call of God, so they may respond to the needs of God’s people in a particular place.
They live a consecrated life through the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. These women and men commit their lives to serve God and the Church through prayer and sacrifice, living and working alongside the Church, and seeking to love and serve everyone they encounter.
They are committed to sharing in the life and mission of their community by nourishing and fostering their relationship with God through personal and communal prayer and service, being available to people through lives that are lived simply, and sharing their gifts of time, and talent for the sake of others.
In the Diocese of Bathurst, there are a number of Religious Congregations: sisters of St Joseph, Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of Charity, Jesuits and Vincentians.
Single people are men or women of all ages who have come to believe that being single is the way for them to live faithfully their baptismal call to holiness, and to attain ‘fullness of life’.
They may live alone, with family, or in a Christian community with others who are also single. They may use their chosen career to express their love through their ministries in fields such as social work, education and healthcare.
Singles often devote their time and energy to the service of others, especially those most in need, and they are often key volunteers in community projects.
They may serve their parish community in any number of ways. Many single people have chosen to serve for a time as overseas missionaries or volunteers with aid projects.
Those whose call is the single vocation are called by God to live a life of faith, prayer and generosity.