Let’s start in our Catholic schools


Let’s start in our Catholic schools

In light of having just celebrated Catholic Education Sunday in Alberta along with the fact that I am a Catholic School Board Trustee, I thought I would reflect on catholic education as it relates to vocations.

We are blessed as a faith community to have the opportunity of catholic education, a place that is so ripe for vocation culture. We see it initially in the call to be a catholic educator as a vocation itself. It is here that teachers are able to live out their faith in a way that few are able to in their daily work. This is truly a gift in a society that is increasingly calling out for secularity. As we know the parish and schools are there to support the parents as the first educator in the context of the family, and this puts our catholic schools in a wonderful position to be able to foster not only the conversation about vocation, but provide opportunities of discernment for our children. In our schools we have the ability in the context of preparing for the future,  to talk about vocation in a broader context beside the very important one of the call to religious life.

As students are preparing for adulthood, they are evaluating their gift and talents, as well as their strengths and passions in order to form a path forward after grade school. It is a blessing to be able to frame these discoveries in light of vocation and what God is calling them to. To understand that God has a plan for each of us, and that by realizing that plan we will not only fulfill that plan for ourselves, but we become a blessing to our entire community.

Learning about religious vocation may seem out of context for some of our youth in schools that no longer have Religious teaching in them. There was a time when most if not all teachers were priests, brother and sisters. With that not being the case, and living in a time where we no longer see the abundance in these roles, I think it can be hard for young people to think about whether or not this way of life would be a fit for them. But if we are looking at vocation in the broader sense of, what is God calling me to, it may be an easier conversation to have. Some of us will serve our communities through being professionals, others of us are called to the trades because of the gifts God has blessed us with. Some of us will play professional sports and others will concentrate on raising families.  Are we called to married life, or will we be the best versions of ourselves serving others while living a single life? And if we are called to married life, do we understand our responsibility to help our spouse achieve the path God has called them to?

And while it may seem to be counterintuitive to talk about other vocations besides the priestly one when we are seeing less and less young men joining the priesthood, I feel that by helping our young people think about their future in a different way, we may actually increase vocations to religious life. The path that we discern is not only about ourselves, but about our families and the broader community. Let us create a vocation culture in our communities, and let’s start in our Catholic schools.

By Serena Shaw
Vocation Team – Oblate Associate