Following Christ’s Footsteps

By Charla Spalluto Misse

I was recently blessed with the opportunity to attend a prayer service with one of the Medjugorje visionaries, Ivan Dragicevic.  Following a mass, his talk, and a rosary, he experienced an apparition of Our Lady.  One of her messages to those present was to pray for vocations.

As parents, we guide our children in faith through our own experiences with the sacraments.  Similarly, we often guide our children’s education and career paths based on our own experiences with work.  Some parents, however, are unable to guide their children in the discernment of a religious vocation by drawing on their own personal experiences.  So how would we encourage our children to consider such a possibility?

In our home, we openly respect, admire, and befriend the religious in our lives.  We care about them.  We support and pray for them and sincerely request their support and prayers on our behalf.  We see them as central figures in our lives.

Last year, I invited two school priests to speak with first grade Cub Scouts about their lives as priests and how they came to recognize their calling.  Both the children and their parents had excellent questions!

This year, our family was very excited to take home the “vocations chalice” from our church.  We were given the responsibility of praying nightly for those discerning a call to religious life as well as those who have accepted a call.  This is a relatively new practice that your church may offer as well.

Opportunities like these communicate that we deeply appreciate those who have consecrated themselves to God.  It also shows that we would support a loved one’s consideration of this possibility for their lives.  If we are to encourage future vocations, we must consciously invite the Holy Spirit to open the hearts and minds of our families.

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