Mary Sharon Moore presents
'Awakening Vocations Process’
in Great Bend
Prince of Peace Parish to
offer ‘vocational guides’
AT right is Father Reggie Urban, Mary Sharon Moore, and Sister Celeste Albers, OP.
By DAVID MYERS
Southwest Kansas Register
GREAT BEND -- Sister Celeste Albers, OP, realized recently that the way she had been viewing vocational discernment – deciding the path God wants one to take in life – was, well, “backwards.” After attending the Awakening Vocations workshops recently in Great Bend, she said she learned that, “Instead of thinking first about whether I am called to be a priest, brother, sister, deacon, or in lay ministry, I first need to look at the charisms [gifts of the Holy Spirit] God has given me.”
Once one discovers those gifts, she said you then need to “pray to know God’s will. I then discern whether I am being called to the celibate, married, or single lifestyle.”
It’s only then that “I discern the specific vocational call I have received from God.”
With the title of “Sister” before her name, it goes without saying that Sister Celeste has already determined her vocation. But as pastoral minister at Prince of Peace Parish, this knowledge will come in useful when lending guidance to those members of the parish who are in discernment.
The Awakening Vocations workshops were presented by Mary Sharon Moore, founding director of “Awakening Vocations,” author of “Touching the Reign of God” and “Living in God’s Economy,” and a contributing columnist for the Southwest Kansas Register.
“The Awakening Vocations process consists of four workshops,” Moore said, “two for the parish’s core team and two for a broader parish audience. At the heart of the process is an awakening to the powerful anointing in the Holy Spirit that each person receives in Baptism, and how that anointing plays out in the course of one’s life. The process gives people a way to discern God’s calling in light of their anointing, in a simple, straightforward way.”
As a result of the program, the parish is forming a team of “vocational guides” who have gone through formation to help fellow parishioners in the vocation discernment process.
Discerning a vocation is a journey, and parishes could benefit from having “vocational guides” to “help anyone at any time to discern where God is calling them…” Sister Celeste said. “For example, if someone loses their job or retires, a vocational guide can meet with them and help them discern where God might be leading them at this time in their life. Homebound ministers were also encouraged to become vocational guides to help those who are homebound to discern what vocational call they are receiving from God in their particular circumstances.”
Besides implementing the vocational guides program in Prince of Peace Parish, Sister Celeste noted that the parish is planning to bring Mary Sharon Moore back in a year “to talk to our parishioners at Mass about how all of us are called to awaken vocations by our deep commitment to Gospel living.
The parish will also offer a “Next-Step” Café for seniors in high school, youth who are college-age and young adults from the diocese. She describes this session as offering “tasty variations of the anchor workshop focusing on their particular questions around “what to do with my life”.
Moore noted that the unique feature of the Awakening Vocations process is the way it frames the U.S. Bishops’ pastoral plan for faith formation, “Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us,” in a clear vocational context.
“This vocational piece is absolutely critical to addressing any vocation shortage in the Church, and the Church’s effective witness in the world,” she said.
“I am so grateful to Father Reggie Urban and Sister Celeste for inviting me to walk members of Prince of Peace Parish through the Awakening Vocations process. Father Reggie and Sister Celeste have such a heart for God’s people and for good, solid, and meaningful faith formation for adults.
“Based on comments from participants, I have the impression that the Awakening Vocations process had an awakening effect,” Moore said. “A lot of things got ‘knit together’ in their understanding of what a living Catholic faith is all about.”
Between 25-30 people attended each session.
“I was very pleased with the overall way the program went,” Sister Celeste said. “The support of our parish staff and the vocations commission was energizing for me. However, we know that this was just the tip of the iceberg in relation to the implementation of the program.”