Every Missionary of the Precious Blood, every Companion, every parishioner, and every member of the Body of Christ needs to do his or her part to raise up vocations. I often talk about how we need to pray for vocations, and how we need to invite and encourage. We also need to all do our part to help promote the Community. Let me share with you a little story.
I was exchanging emails recently with a friend, who happens to be a parishioner of a parish served by the C.PP.S. She shared how she was at a day camp with her kids, and while she was working on a project with another mom, they were chatting. The other mom mentioned that her son had considered the diocesan priesthood, and discerned that that life wasn’t for him, and was now looking at religious communities. My friend began to tell her about the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. As it turns out the young man in question had already heard of us and reached out to me.
My friend went on to share with the other mother that their family regularly prays for vocations to the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, which means that “We’ve already been praying for your son and his vocation.”
A simple story, of a parishioner ready to promote our Precious Blood Community to another mom, in hopes that maybe her friend’s son might one day become a priest or a brother. I share it to point out one simple way in which we promote vocations. My friends says she went on to tell the other mom “how awesome you all are.”
The basic work of promoting the Community and extending invitations is easy and can be done by anyone; all you have to do is be on the lookout for opportunities, and ask for the courage to be bold.
There are a number of common doubts and fears that keep us from doing this work. They need to be overcome:
“Oh, Father, I don’t know enough about the Community to talk about it to another person.” No problem, share what you know. First, just share from your experience. If they ask you a question you and you don’t know the answer, simply say so, and refer them to me or someone who does. No one expects you to know everything.
“I want to encourage someone, but I’m not certain they are called to be a priest.” You don’t have to be certain; that’s what discernment and formation are for, to help the individual and the Community make that decision. We encourage little leaguers without knowing if they have a career in baseball ahead of them, so why hold a religious vocation to this overly-high bar? Besides, you aren’t handing out applications, you are inviting people to consider something.
“I’m afraid it will be awkward.” There are ways to make it less awkward. Don’t just make it about the Missionaries. Encourage young women to consider life as a sister. Also encourage gifts that would be helpful to the vocation of marriage, and/or would speak to a possible future career.
Promoting vocations is an all-hands-on-deck task. If the idea of being an active part of vocation ministry is new to you, I’d encourage you to simply ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Ask the Spirit to move in your heart, revealing to you those people and those moments where you can help to promote vocations, especially to the Missionaries of the Precious Blood.