How Can I Help?

Synodia

Encouraging those receiving the call of Jesus Christ is everyone’s job. Here are some genuinely useful things you can do to raise the profile of future clergy. Below are suggestions for bishops, priests, deacons, parish leadership, dads, moms and students!

If you’re a bishop:

  • Feature every single student in theological education on your diocesan/metropolis website, with a prominently displayed link to a special page listing each student. This means not only seminarians, but diaconal training students also.
  • Sponsor, and attend, a vocations festival every year. Make sure that you get the right clergy to attend, and invite a seminary professor or officer to come and meet with those who attend. Invite parents, Church school teachers and anyone else who is interested in having an impact in the lives of future clergy.  Make sure that there are sessions just for students, and some just for parents and others.
  • Support and recognize those parishes which are producing vocations, and highlight their work in diocesan/metropolis publications.
  • Gather teams for prayer and support of seminary students, and diaconal (late vocations) students, to keep tabs on them, keep in touch and let them know there are people praying for them every day.
  • Suggest career instructions that prospective students could learn to support them in Tent-making Mission work.

 

If you’re a parish priest or deacon:

  • Prominently feature every single student in the parish involved in theological education on your parish website. Don’t forget to include a link to GoodGuysWearBlack.org.
  • Get information about vocations into every single bulletin or newsletter. Whether it is a full page graphic ad, or a simple one sentence blurb with a link, get it in every time. Use the media resources section of the GGWB website for ideas.
  • Make sure that each and every future seminarian is committed to reading the entire Bible, word for word, before beginning their studies. (if you haven’t read the whole Bible before seminary, you’ll never have time to do it during seminary).
  • Let every student understand that their current parish is their current mission field. Serving parishioners and evangelizing the area are a primary work.
  • Get the student involved in reading and serving, and make sure they are assigned some grunt work. Serving tables and cleaning up afterwards, that’s Biblical preparation!
  • Have an annual Vocations week, where young men (and not-so-young-men) can see displays, hear speakers, ask questions and get some answers about prospective vocations in the Church. Find someone who can come and speak about the life of a seminarian (seminary faculty are excellent!), the life of a priest (find someone you trust) and the life of a deacon (bring in someone who has been through the standard process or can speak about it precisely).
  • Assign a small team of parishioners to pray for vocations and for those following that path.
  • Include prayers for vocation weekly. Of course, pray for them daily.
  • Preach a sermon on being called to the Priesthood. Use this opportunity to lift up the perception of the priestly ministry, and not go on about personal experiences.

 

If you’re in Parish Leadership:

  • Begin praying, and get others to pray with you, for vocations among those in your parish.
  • Get the Parish Council to assign a Council Member to be in charge of encouraging, supporting and validating vocations from the parish. It’s a sign of a living parish, so there is great benefit to everyone in the parish when a man takes on the priesthood or diaconate of Christ.
  • Require monthly reports of this member (who should be a volunteer) on the progress of this important parish ministry!
  • Make supporting theological students a line item in the budget, and commit to increasing it every year.

 

If you’re a father:

  • Ask the Lord God Almighty to guide, guard and protect your son. This is a perilous journey.
  • Be sure your son knows the importance of working with his hands, and the value of learning a hobby (like a musical instrument)
  • Encourage your son to abandon their own will to serve the Living God, and to pursue the path that they were created to follow.
  • Show your son how important it is for a man to lead his family in prayer, by example in worship, in tithing and in service to others.
  • If he comes forward and reveals his vocation, tell him you are proud of him for answering the Lord, and to do it with all his might.

 

If you’re a mother:

  • Pray with your children that the Lord Jesus Christ would call worthy men into His Holy Priesthood. Family prayers are powerful, and have great grace attached to them.
  • Pray for your son daily (I know, I know – you already do this), but pray specifically for confirmation and validation of this calling, and for an increase of grace.
  • Ask the Lord God Almighty to guide, guard and protect your son. This is a perilous journey.
  • Be sure your son knows the importance of working with his hands, and the value of learning a hobby (like a musical instrument)
  • Encourage your son to abandon their own will to serve the Living God, and to pursue the path that they were created to follow.
  • If he comes forward and reveals his vocation, tell him you are proud of him for answering the Lord, and to do it with all his might.
  • Speak openly of parishioners, theological students, and seminarians that you know of, and pray for them.

 

If you’re being called:

  • Pray for some confirmation and validation of your heart in this matter. This is important, and the obstacles of life are not going to dissolve, they are likely to increase. This is a hard path, but for those who are called, there is not only no choice, there is great joy in it.
  • Go to your priest as soon as possible and speak to him about it.
  • If you’re an undergrad, consider what you will study. Try to make sure you have an employable skill – this is valuable, as well as serious studies in classics, philosophy, languages and history. These are necessary for future studies in theology.
  • If you have a bachelor’s degree, start looking at seminaries. Ask your bishop if he has a preference or even a requirement! Contact the seminary, schedule a visit during the school year. Learn everything you can about it.