Sunday, May 15, 2011, was the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. I clicked around the Internet to see how much “buzz” was being created on websites, the “blogosphere” and the “Twitterverse.” What I found was interesting.
Pope Paul VI designated the fourth Sunday of Easter (Good Shepherd Sunday) as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations in 1964. For this occasion the pope issues a message. This year Pope Benedict’s message for the day focused on Proposing Vocations in the Local Church.
The line in his message which struck me the most was: The ability to foster vocations is a hallmark of the vitality of a local Church. The Internet was a good place to promote vocations by using this day of prayer to raise awareness of their importance in the Church. I did find a few good efforts to do that.
Columnist Brian Caulfield wrote an article on Headline Bistro, a service of the Knights of Columbus, entitled My Son the Priest encouraging parents to put away our own ideas for our kids and pick up our rosary beads as we hand their futures over to God. He is the Father who truly knows what’s best for them.
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee made resources for the day available to its parishes on its website indicating that this is an appropriate occasion for highlighting the importance of vocations in the life and mission of the Church, as well as for intensifying our prayer that they may increase in number and quality.
The USCCB, some dioceses and religious communities provided either the text or the link to the text of the Pope’s message on their sites and some put messages on Facebook and Twitter. There were a few videos. I made a very humble contribution there.
However, the best effort that I found was given by the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity from Manitowoc, Wisconsin. They interwove the Day of Prayer, a Discernment Retreat they are hosting from May 20-22, and a song that they connected to praying for vocations in a press release, on their Facebook page and the Twitter stream of their Vocation Director, Sister Mary Ann. Their efforts led me to look up their website which is very upbeat and invites networking on all the major platforms. Good work, Sisters!
Congratulations to the pioneers of using the Internet to raise awareness for vocations! Hopefully, on April 29, 2012, the next World Day of Prayer for Vocations, there will be a lot more of us contributing to the buzz.
Finally, here is a very good article by Amanda Cuda, Staff Writer for ctpost.com, discussing the use of the Internet for vocations in general entitled What would Jesus tweet? Dioceses use social media to draw folks to religious life.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Please comment below.