Pursuing Vocations


What would Jesus do?

Through the gift of baptism, God invites each of us to follow Jesus in our own way. You have been given unique abilities and talents. Each person has his or her own personal hopes and dreams.

Sometimes it is hard to see what it is that makes us special because we want to be like our friends. Fitting in with the crowd is fine, as long as you listen to your heart when it comes to making important choices.

You make choices everyday, many times a day. God's invitation to be like Jesus and the way you answer that invitation are visible in the smallest ways each day. You make a choice about how much time you spend on your homework, how willingly you help others, how often you say a prayer during the day.

Most people think of vocation as the "big choice" you make when you get older - whether to get married, become a priest, brother or sister, or what career you will enter. While the dictionary defines "vocation" as "a personal invitation or call to enter a certain career or lifestyle, especially a religious one," a vocation is much bigger than that. It is an invitation to live a full Christian life, making good choices along the way. (adapted from the Diocesan Vocations Newsletter, vol. 1 Issue 1.)

Making good choices is what its all about; what does God want me to do? Being a priest, sister or brother is a choice that usually comes much later in life. The first step is to see it as the possibility in your life. I chose to be a priest many years ago; even before I studied in the seminary at Mundelein. But it really wasn't until my day of ordination that I decided definitely to be a priest. Every since I was 7 or 8 I thought about being a priest, but I didn't think really serious about it until I was in college.

Throughout all that time I heard a call. This is not some mysterious voice or anything; so what is it? Over and over again, inside, I felt like I should be a priest. You know when your stomach rumbles and your hungry for one type of food, for example, Mexican (my favorite), until you eat that type of food you will still be hungry for it. Until I became a priest, I had a desire to be a priest. That hasn't stopped, I still feel a "call" to be the best priest I can.

The Patron Saint of Vocations is St. Alphonsus

Alphonsus Ligouri lived in Italy more than 200 years ago. When he was a boy, he was so smart that he graduated from college when he was only 16 years old. After graduation, he made a choice to become a lawyer.

Alphonsus discovered that he wanted to spend more time praying and working with the poor. So he made another choice. He became a priest and spent his time working with families who lived in the countryside. He heard their confessions and was very kind to them. He wrote books about the Blessed Mother and about the Blessed Sacrament. He also became a bishop. (from the Diocesan Vocations Newsletter, vol. 1 Issue 1.)

O Lord God, we ask you to hear our prayer as we call upon you to send us vocations to the diocesan priesthood and religious life. Your precious flock needs committed disciples and shepherds who have a deep and trusting faith.

The need for priests is great. Your people desire priests who will celebrate the sacraments of life and preach your Word with compassion and love.

The need for religious is great. Your people need religious who will be committed to your life of prayer and service. Send us, then, young men and women who will sacrifice for you, O Lord, without counting the cost. May the words of Jesus inspire them: "Come, follow me." Mary, Mother of Jesus the Priest, pray for us. (Adapted from a prayer by the Oblates of Jesus the Priest.)

Have any questions?

Email Fr. Brian Alford at vocations@dio.org