FAQ's for Parents
What is the role of parents in encouraging vocations?
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Vocations defined the primary role of parents as providing "authentic witness to the importance of faith, prayer and service to others." The first step is to give children an awareness of the nature of a vocation (a calling from God). After that, the role of parents is one of inviting children to ask whether God might be calling them to priesthood or other Church ministry.
What are some things parents can do to help their children discover God's will in their lives?
Some people are called to marriage and family life. Some are called to be single laypeople, helping others by the faith-filled ways they approach their work and relationships. Others are called to priesthood or religious life as a sister or brother. All of these are good, holy callings.
How can parents talk about Church vocations when what they know about from personal experience is married life?
The call to marriage and family life and the call to a Church vocations have similarities. Talk to your children about how you discovered God's purpose in your life. How did you know that you were called to marriage? What about your career? Do you regard your work as a calling or a way you strive for holiness? For example, if you are a teacher or a physician, do you believe that you are doing God's work by serving your students or patients as best you can?
As a parent, if I encourage my child to consider a Church vocation and it eventually doesn't work out, wouldn't it have been better to stay out of things in the first place? Shouldn't parents let children make up their own minds?
Pointing out qualities in your children that apply to priesthood or religious life will affirm them. Tell them that you see the generosity that shines forth in situations ranging from helping a younger sibling with homework to sticking up for a classmate on the playground. Commend their leadership qualities and include Church leadership as one of the ways a natural leader can use his or her talents.
With all of the scandal surrounding priesthood, what parent would choose to encourage a child to pursue that kind of life?
As a parent, ask yourself, "Am I giving my child the opportunity to begin forming their opinions about priesthood based on the totality of what being a priest means?" True, some priests have engaged in sexual abuse. The majority of priests, however, serve with dedication and try to model their lives after the example of Jesus.