Courageously Encouraging Vocations – Bishop Parkes

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The work of encouraging, promoting and supporting vocations is essential to the health of a diocese. The men and women who are being called to serve the faithful within and outside of our diocese as priests, religious and permanent deacons are found within your parish’s communities. I have entrusted to the Office of Vocations the important work of promoting priestly and religious vocations. Many of the priests currently serving within the Diocese of St. Petersburg and religious who have gone forth from our diocese were first altar servers, readers, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, members of youth ministries, students in faith formation programs, or Catholic school students in your parishes.

Most priests report that their first thought of pursuing a vocation was the consequence of a conversation with a priest. That initial encouragement was frequently affirmed by members of their parish, adding to the conviction that this thought must be investigated further. Religious sisters and brothers have had similar experiences that sparked their attraction and sense of calling to their religious Orders.

These experiences highlight the joint role that priests and laity play in encouraging vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Where best is this joint role played out but in your parish? If we are going to have sufficient priests and religious to provide for the future of our diocese, the full support of your entire parish is needed in encouraging these vocations.

Within this toolkit your parish and Parish Vocation Enrichment Team will find the tools to create a successful vocations ministry throughout your parish. I ask that all parishes within the Diocese of St. Petersburg establish a Vocation Enrichment Team that implements a vocations ministry tailored to their parish. The ideas in this toolkit range from the very simple to the complex; every parish should find at least a few that will work for it. These parish vocations ministries will be a great help to our Office of Vocations in expanding and sustaining a culture of vocations throughout the Diocese of St. Petersburg.

I continue to be grateful for all who have been working in earnest to promote vocations within our diocese. May we continue to work together in courageously encouraging vocations!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Gregory Parkes
Bishop of St. Petersburg

How to Use the Toolkit

What Are Vocations