The following blog was contributed by Dr. Tom Burnford, President/CEO of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) in Arlington, VA.
Last year, I visited the original home of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and the first classroom in the first school she founded in 1809. From her work, and the work of so many other religious and clergy, came the system of over 6,000 Catholic schools that we celebrate this week in NCEA’s National Catholic Schools Week, January 26 – February 1. Through Baptism, all Catholics are called to know, love and serve God through their lives; this is the fundamental vocation or calling that comes from Baptism.
But in addition to this core, each of us is called by God to serve in other ways, as parents, as single people, and for some as clergy and religious. As we today focus on vocations, please take a minute to think of a religious sister, brother, deacon, priest or bishop that you know and maybe reach out to them and thank them for responding to their vocation.
At the same time, we acknowledge the vocations of parents, spouses, teachers, principals and superintendents. And after expressing gratitude, let us take a moment today to reflect on vocation, the need for each of us, and our children, to listen to God and discern how best we are called to serve, and in a particular way to be open to considering vowed service to the Church through religious life or ordination.
If you have children in a Catholic school, talk to them today about the different types of vocations in the Church and help them to pray and discern what God may be asking. How wonderful it is that God gives each and every person a calling, a vocation as it were, by which we can know, love and serve Him and others!