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Turn to Jesus (Article) a "Virtual World of Vocation Insights"
The May 15, 2002, edition of the Long Island Catholic, a diocesan newspaper, includes the following article on, a service of the Legion of Christ inspired by Father Anthony Bannon´s LC book "Peter on the Shore". photo
The Web's Catholic vocation resource
May 15, 2002

Recently, I had the privilege of participating in the Third Continental Congress on vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. Close to 1,200 delegates from the United States, Canada, and several Central American countries gathered in Montreal to generate tactics and visions to develop a pastoral plan for fostering vocations. The delegates came from a wide variety of backgrounds including about 200 young adults.

A young man, seated at our table, was a senior in high school and was planning on joining the Navy after graduation from high school. His youth director had suggested that he come to this gathering. Early on in our several days in Montreal he said to me: “What is a vocation, anyways?” That was such a fundamental question, one to which I thought everyone knew the answer, that I had to pause for a few minutes and think. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit seemed to provide the right words at the right time. How would you answer that question?

Fortunately, there is a great website that analyzes the question and provides very solid answers for both men and women. A cursory visit to may leave viewers with the impression that there is not much there. Wrong! The unpretentious file folders on the right-hand side of the screen are actually gateways to a virtual world of vocation insights.

So, where should one begin? template template
Well, the “Vocation Basics” folder sounds like the best place. Indeed, the basics are there. In question and answer style, readers discover that, if God is calling, He deserves an answer, either yes or no. To answer appropriately, there are some visible signs: good physical, spiritual, and psychological health and a love of God demonstrated by one’s good behavior and the living of virtue.

Of course, an essential element to discerning a call from God is prayer. The website not only offers some very practical suggestions for appropriate prayer forms, but also some outstanding meditation texts along with questions to help guide the reflections.

To help those who might visit the site on a regular basis, possibly because they are seriously discerning a vocation to priesthood or consecrated life, the developers have a “question of the day” and “meditation of the day.” The answers to the questions are profound and respond to the questioning spirit present in so many young people. The contents of the meditations speak to the longings found in the hearts of so many as they try to discern God’s will for them. These meditations are not for the feint-hearted, but they lead the person through the depths of spiritual longing so one is able to respond more responsibly to God’s invitation.

In discerning a vocation, there are no spectacular divine signs. Discerning any vocation in life is hard work and is not something with a quick answer. The authors have provided a type of discernment checklist. The elements in the list have withstood the test of time: prayer, a rule of life, a spiritual director, and sacrifice. Each element in this checklist is important, but I would like to say a special word about a spiritual director.

In discerning a vocation, young people sometimes believe that they have to go it alone. Choosing a spiritual director provides good guidance and direction to anyone seeking a greater relationship with the Lord and especially to one whom God may be calling to priesthood or consecrated life. In attempting to discover what God is calling a person to do, a person may unintentionally ask the wrong person for advice. A spiritual director is really the best qualified to help the candidate see where God is calling.

Is God calling you to priesthood or consecrated life? This website can help you find the answer. Maybe you could clip out this article and send it to someone that you think should be discerning a call to priesthood or consecrated life. God calls in strange ways. Maybe you could be His messenger.

By Msgr. Robert H. Aucoin

For more questions and answers on vocations please visit

Msgr. Aucoin is a priest of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, NY, and rector of Wadhams Hall Seminary - College in Ogdensburg. In addition to parish ministry, Msgr. Aucoin has spent 21 years in ministry in Catholic high school, college and seminary education. Prior to his present assignment, he was chancellor in the Ogdensburg diocese.



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