For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. ---Ephesians 6:12

"The age of casual Catholicism is over; the age of heroic Catholicism has begun. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead must be Catholics by CONVICTION." ---Fr. Terrence Henry TOR, Franciscan University of Steubenville

Thursday, December 11, 2008

When Your Kid Thinks He's Got a Religious Vocation, What's a Parent to do?

Sadly, as many vocations directors would attest, many parents try to shoot it down. (Since my life has been blessed from youth with a bounty of indicators that I don't have a highly desirable genetic arrangement, vanity won't impede me from nourishing a vocation in any or all of my children. But I digress).

Our friend, Lisa Graas, has put a lot of work into an online vocations guide for American Catholics, with its particular focus on parents.

Says Lisa, "Jesus is calling LOUDLY through His Church. The Church is really doing Her part. We parents are the ones who have to step up to the plate."

You can see just how much work the Church has done toward welcoming those answering the Call online by checking out their vocations inquiry sites, some of which are very professionally done. The guide has a portal that lists vocation offices by clicking the states on a graphical map.

Ms. Graas was motivated to complete this project after reading the blog of a Passionist nun in Whitesville. "It was said by one of them that it is very common for parents to stand in the way of a child's vocation. I hope to be able to help dispel any misgivings among parents about religious life."

The site has sections on religious statistics, accounts from lives of the saints, good orders to check out, and lots of Church documents. Perhaps of greatest interest to both parents and exploring candidates alike are the personal vocation stories from nuns who, alas, weren't born in the convent. (In fact, one of the stories she links to was the prom queen.) (a project of Trinity Communications) issued Lisa's vocations guide a Fidelity Award for its reliably faithful Catholic content.

Nor has the site gone unrecognized by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Father David L. Toups, an Associate Director at the Secretariate of Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations surprised Lisa with an unsolicited word of thanks that ends with some sound advice for parents:

The line for parents to learn is to be able to say, "I see in you (ICNU) the qualities that would make for a good priest or religious" - never pushing but only eliciting the good that is already there and leaving God to be the primary Inviter. Then we pray.

Far be it for us parents to stand afoul of the plans the Almighty has in mind for our children, who after all are more His than ours. Most assuredly, parents not only wouldn't impede but would nurture vocations in their children if only they adopt a perspective largely lost in our times that earthly acquisitions and marks of prestige amount to nothing in the next world, and thus living by God's will is more important than our own.

Then again, our kids could always pick a good order and elope.


Matt said...

Now if you really want your kid to join the priesthood, have them listen to Father Corapi's story. I tell yah, Kev, when I heard it on CD I got goosebumps and almost joined up. Til I realized you gotta be "called" by God.

Kevin Gleeson said...


Now you're giving me goose bumps. Talk to a priest and try to sort out whether you have been called.

Kevin Gleeson said...

Matt, if you consider that conversation jumping the gun a bit, just give some of those testimonials a read and compare what you're feeling with those personal callings to religious vocations.

Lisa Graas said...

Hi, guys!

I'm moving the site to a new domain. It is now at

I have about half of my files moved. Let me know what you think! If I don't get many new visitors, maybe I can put Kevin's picture back up to draw them in. :-)

Marlon said...

When I was a kid I thought a happy life would be to become a missionary. Now I feel how happy and peaceful I am to be like that. Almighty has done great things for me.