Dawn Hausmann and Father Michael Cassar of the Diocese of Lansing’s Office of Vocations, pictured above, welcome you to National Vocations Awareness Week, seven days to celebrate the different states of life by which God calls each of us to pursue our salvation: consecrated virginity, religious life, priesthood and married life. Journalist NancyLee Bareham spoke to both Dawn and Father Cassar for this month’s edition of FAITH Magazine, the official publication of the Diocese of Lansing. NancyLee writes:
What does it mean to live the vocation to which God has called you?
Every person has a vocation in their day to day life. In school, one is called to be a student, while at work, one is called to be an employee.
But each of us has another vocation: It’s one we are called to by God — and it’s one we have to pursue with all our being.
“We call these the ‘state in life’ vocations,” says Dawn Hausmann, pictured above, who serves as the Diocese of Lansing’s director of consecrated vocations, delegate for consecrated life and coordinator of young adult ministry. “The choice of making a vow, a commitment to someone or to God himself in his Church, is when you call it a ‘state in life’ vocation.”
National Vocation Awareness Week, celebrated Nov. 5–11, is a time to celebrate and embrace all the different vocations in the Catholic Church.
“Essentially, we want to help people think about their own ‘state in life’ vocations, which in the Catholic Church we consider marriage, religious life, hermits, brothers, religious brothers, consecrated virgins, religious sisters, married life and — of course — priesthood,” Hausmann says.
This week is meant for more than just acknowledging the different vocations to which people are called. During this week, youth are particularly encouraged to think about what their vocations may be and are assisted in pursuing that calling.
“We want to help youth prepare for the biggest calling of their lives, which ultimately takes up all of life for many of us,” Hausmann says. “Sometimes, young people don't think to prepare for something as big as that. They’re looking at the next 50 minutes, not the next 50 years.” Hausmann says discernment is never easy. “Whether it’s about acknowledging God’s calling to be a good wife and mother, or whether we’re trying to find out if consecrated virginity or religious sisterhood might be on the horizon. Each of us must find the right way to make a gift of ourselves in the way that best serves God.’”
The discernment process for a vocation is something that a person cannot do alone.
“Having a community or spiritual adviser guide, walk and encourage that person along the way can help him or her lean into God and hear his direction,” Hausmann says. “Parents and close friends are huge. We need accompaniment, from the young to the old, helping in a vocational process.”
There is a responsibility placed on each member of the Church when it comes to obeying the vocation that is asked of every person. Each member in the body has a part to play in building up the kingdom of God.
“You see it in St. Paul when he talks about the Church as the body, and there are different organs. And the body is healthy when each of the different members is doing what it's supposed to do,” says Father Mike Cassar, pictured below, who serves as the diocesan director of vocations.
As each person discerns his or her vocation and grows in it, they serve the body of Christ. They also deepen their fellowship with God and grow in union with his love.
“If you're called to marriage, and that's your vocation, you must do it well,” says Father Cassar. “There are good days and bad, but If that's what you're called to do you must seek to do it with joy, make it fulfilling, and use your journey to grow in holiness.
“At some point, you’ll look up and realize you're contributing, you're loving more selflessly, and you’re bringing that increase of love to the Church. You’ll see you’re learning to love and serve other people.”
Father Cassar notes that when people choose their vocations well, the Church grows in her charity and in her capacity to communicate the love of Jesus to the world.
“And so when we really are following what we're called to do, we're really growing in holiness,” he says.
During this National Vocation Awareness Week, it’s worth pausing to take time to intentionally sit and seek the Lord’s direction, pray for those who have already chosen and find out who is best suited to help guide and accompany you as you discern the best ‘state in life’ vocation of your own,
For more information on vocations in the Diocese of Lansing, visit the Department of Vocations website at https://www.dioceseoflansing.org/vocations