Novena for Vocations and More Planned for Vocations Awareness Week

By Colleen Rowan WEST VIRGINIA—“St. Irenaeus reminds us that the glory of God is the person fully alive,” said Father Dennis R. Schuelkens, Jr., director of Vocations and Seminarians for the diocese. “This truth points to the importance and purpose of celebrating Vocations Awareness Week. In order for a person to be fully alive, it is imperative that he/she discern what God is calling them to do.” The various activities of Vocations Awareness Week, Nov. 4-10, Father Schuelkens said, essentially encourage every person to ask these questions: “Lord, what do you want me to do? What is the deepest desire in my heart? What have you placed in my heart to give?” “In the best case scenario,” he said, “the activities in vocations awareness week would cultivate a habit within every faithful Catholic to ask those questions each and every day in prayer.” Vocations Awareness Week is an annual occasion in the diocese across the country to promote awareness and to cultivate a culture of vocations, said Father Brian Crenwelge, assistant director of Vocations. Specifically, the vocations are marriage, priesthood, diaconate, single life and religious life. However, Vocations Awareness Week, in a particular way focuses on priesthood and religious life, he said. Each year the diocese strives to incorporate that into liturgical life of diocesan communities in a way to foster awareness of these vocations,” he said. “As a diocese this year,” Father Crenwelge said, “we will be praying a novena for vocations in our parishes and schools so that we can come together as the people of God in this need.” The novena will start Nov. 4. “Churches should pray either before or at the end of Mass, schools can pray after morning or afternoon announcements,” Father Crenwelge said. “As we know our diocesan future depends on more vocations.” Schools and parishes will also have opportunities to invite their pastor to speak on why he loves being a priest, to invite local religious on why they love being religious and talk about their vocation. “It’s a great opportunity for our children as well as adults to pray for more vocations,” Father Crenwelge said. St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Wheeling will host a Holy Hour for Vocations from 4-5 p.m. Nov. 4. In October, Father Crenwelge and diocesan seminarians as well as Sister Miriam O’Callahan of the Franciscan Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother of Penance of Toronto, Ohio, visited Charleston Catholic High School and St. Joseph Central Catholic High School—sharing their vocation stories. Sister O’Callahan spoke to the girls and the seminarians spoke to the boys. The groups also stopped by to visit students at Sacred Heart Grade School in Charleston. During Vocations Awareness Week, Father Crenwelge will be visiting his alma mater, St. Joseph Parish School in Martinsburg. He will begin the day celebrating Mass for the students at St. Joseph Parish and then visiting the school to share his vocation story. Father Crenwelge plans to visits more diocesan schools. More information and resources for National Vocations Awareness Week, including a prayer card, homily aids, suggested prayers of the faithful and bulletin-ready quotes are also available online on the USCCB website at and-teachings/vocations/national-vocation-awareness-week.cfm.