Ursuline Sisters of the Irish Union

Schools Resource Packs

 

Vocation

 

Introduction

Every year the Church designates the Fourth Sunday of Easter as the Day of Prayer for Vocations to priesthood and religious life.  Early in the Year the Pope writes a special letter on the theme chosen for the particular year – you may like to read this as you prepare for the class, you can find it at www.vatican.va  and look up the latest documents

This resource pack is designed to be of use to you in preparing your classes to look at the subject of vocation. We have included three sections:

  • Discussion starters/activities
  • Liturgy resources.
  • Appendix containing useful background material to the theme

__________________________________________________________________________________

Section One

__________________________________________________________________________________

Discussion starters/activities

Buzz session – VOCATION what does this word say to you?

Look up the meaning of the word in several dictionaries including a theological dictionary! Or go and ask someone who you think has a vocation.
Discussion:

Who has a vocation?
What is a vocation?
Does everyone have a vocation?
Where do vocations come from?

There are many ways of responding to God’s call in the priesthood and religious life and many ways of living out that call…

Activity: Look around your diocese or local area
How many different ways can you find that people have responded to God’s invitation? Make a list/poster…

Question: There may be many questions you want to ask these people…is there more you would like to find about their life style, why they chose a particular way of life, a particular congregation, or group, or diocese…what their daily life is like…what is it like to live in a community…

Activity: Draw up a questionnaire and either send it to or visit different people and ask them to answer your questions which will help you discover the difference between
Bishop; Parish Priest; curate; a priest with other duties (administrative, chaplaincy…); seminarian; an active religious sister; a retired sister; a contemplative nun; a friar; a religious brother; a monk; a religious priest…

Present and discuss your findings in the classroom…

You may like to invite one or more of these people to your classroom for a conversation with you all…

SERVICE

Jesus said “I come to serve not to be served” Mk: 9:35

Questions:  What is service?
How did Jesus serve? Look up gospel stories of example…
What demands did a life of service make on Jesus?

If we call ourselves Christians we are saying yes to following the example of Jesus…

How do you offer service to others?

 

GIFTS – 1 Cor 12:4-11

Activity: In small groups of six give each person a piece of paper and ask them to write the names of the others in the group putting next to the name a gift you feel that person brings to the group…

Share together in the group…

Share together in the whole class…

You may wish to make a class chart or poster…

This activity will draw out the idea that one person has gifts, but the group collectively can bring many gifts to bear on our world today.

It is our gifts we put at the service of others…

 

Activity: write a letter, poem, creative writing…about how you use your gifts.

Gifts are given to be used and shared. We are all called into service therefore we are all called to answer our vocation in life.

Activity: Design a portrait of a priest/a sister…
Give out flip chart size sheet to groups of five or six students ask them to draw from their experience a typical priest or sister…naming on their design…qualities, gifts, expectations they have of this person.

Debate suggestions: we are presenting sensitive issues here which may require further research in order to prepare your class for a worthwhile, fruitful debate

“This house believes that religious life is dead and has nothing to offer to the Church or the world today”

“This house believes that for the Church to be a positive force for good in society today new structures need to evolve”

“This house believes that the sacrament of Confirmation should include a commitment to a particular service in the community”

__________________________________________________________________________________

Section Two

__________________________________________________________________________________

 

 Liturgy and Prayer Suggestions

Scripture references:

Old Testament: New Testament:
Jeremiah 1: 4-10 Matthew 13: 44-46
Exodus 3: 1-10 Matthew 19: 16-22
1 Samuel 3: 1-9 Mark 1: 16-20
Jeremiah 29: 11-14a Luke 1: 26-38
Isaiah 49: 1-6 Luke 4:18-19
Isaiah 42: 1-9 Luke 5: 1-11
Isaiah 52: 13- 53:12 Luke 18: 35-43
Micah 6:8 John 4: 1-42
Acts 9: 1-9

There are many, many more…perhaps students may like to add their own!

Contemporary Music
Do you know where you’re going to (Diana Ross – theme from film Mahogany)
So strong (Celtic Tenors or Labbi Siffri)
Everything I do, I do it for you (Brian Adams)
Wind beneath my wings (Bette Midler)
I’ll be there for you (The Rembrandts – theme from Friends)

There are simply hundreds you could choose…ask your students!?!

Liturgical music
I give my hands to your work

Here I am Lord
I have no hands but yours (prayer of St Teresa of Avila)
Take me Lord, use my life
The Servant King
I heard the Lord call my name
Listen, let your heart keep seeking
Wherever you go, I will go
Oh the word of my Lord

 

PRAYERS AND REFLECTIONS

Prayer for Guidance

Holy Spirit give me a Spirit of Wisdom to discern the path of life you wish me to follow. Help me to see clearly the things that matter and the things that don’t. Help me to use every gift I have, remembering that it is from you. May the Spirit of God give me a generous open heart, making me an instrument of peace and love in whatever choice I make. Amen.

 

Some Definite Service
God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission – I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.

I have a part in this great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His works, I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling. Therefore I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. I ask not to see – I ask not to know – I ask simply to be used.
Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman

 

Making a Decision
Making a decision can be quite a lonely time; I can take advice and talk with friends; I can ask someone who has travelled that path before; I can pray and think and wonder what is the right choice. But there seems to be times when I cannot say to anyone else what’s really on my mind and heart. It’s like trying to go in both directions at a crossroads or it’s like being in the dark with only the glimmer of a candle, or like a day when the clouds blot out the sun. I question, wonder, hope, feel strongly, doubt – all the bits and pieces of a decision. I am alone, but not fully alone, for God is always with me, the Lord himself, the listener, the one who calms all anxiety.

He says himself he travels with us, a light in the dark night, in the cloud by day.

 

We hope that you may find these suggestions helpful should you wish to prepare a
“prayer time” around the theme to mark Vocation Sunday.

 

RESOURCES

Web sites:

www.vocationsireland.com
www.ewtn.com/religiouslife
www.vocations.dublindiocese.ie
www.vatican.va

Most religious congregations have websites. Just type in their name or the term “religious vocation” and see what happens…

Books: The Vocations series has a booklet on each of the religious vocation types eg. Priests, Sisters… Published by St Mary’s Press and available from any good religious book shop.

This pack was prepared on behalf of the Ursuline Vocations Commission. Should you require further information or assistance in making the contacts suggested in the resource, please feel free to contact us via our website.

 

__________________________________________________________________________________

Section Three

__________________________________________________________________________________

 

APPENDIX

The following are from the Religious Vocation Association website.

What is a Vocation?
Each of us has a life dream. It helps us to answer this question: “What shall I do with my adult life?” Our life dream has the quality of a vague vision and usually emerges during our adolescent years. Most of us realise that times of change and turmoil in life provide fertile ground for understanding and evaluating the place of the dream in our life. How do I get in touch with that dream?

All Christians have a ‘vocation’ in life. The word ‘vocation’ comes from the Latin word ‘vocare’ which means “to call”. Some people God calls through marriage, others as single people. There is the same mystery about religious life as there is about falling in love. It is something in our hearts that we cannot explain. Do not expect God to tap you on the shoulder and say, “Be a Sister/Brother/Priest”!

The realisation of this call will come at different times in life and in different ways – from something you have read, an event in your life, a person you have met or known. The call from God can only be heard when you are in tune with God. It’s a growing realisation that to spend your life as a Sister/Brother/Priest dedicated to Christ and his people is what would make you happy.

 

Contemplative Congregations
Today as in the past Monasteries of Contemplative Religious Life are an oasis of quiet, peace and joy, communities of nuns or monks living lives of prayer and contemplation. The life differs from apostolic religious life, in that those called to this way of life have an obligation of special prayer, Prayer of the Church (Divine Office) in choir, and their mission is within the cloister.

 

Apostolic Congregations
‘Apostolic’ describes active religious communities. Communities whose mission includes ministry such as social work, health care, teaching, pastoral work etc. A Religious is nourished by a deep personal and community prayer life, supported by a community who share together, and energised by ministry.

Diocesan Priest
Diocesan priests look after the day to day spiritual needs of the people of a particular parish. They work as part of a team led by the bishop who has overall responsibility for the diocese. This is a ministry which has been going on since the time of the Apostles.