Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

March 6, 2008

New Trends in Religious Vocations


The excellent website Vocation Match, a service that seeks to pair those discerning Catholic religious vocations with various religious communities and other opportunities recently completed a survey on current vocational trends.

Among the findings:

• There has been a 62 percent increase in the number of inquiries into religious life.
• There is a 30 percent increase in the number of people in the first stages of formation.
• The majority of people considering religious life are under the age of 30.
• There is an increased interest in inquirers who would like to wear a religious habit as an expression of the countercultural appeal of religious life.
• Personal contact with a religious priest, sister, or brother is the most helpful source for those needing vocational information.
Take some time to explore the complete results of the survey.

Christian Discernment
Help your students to cultivate a spirit of Christian discernment. Begin by using the following reflection from Marriage and Holy Orders: Your Call to Love and Serve.


Discernment is the ability to chart a godly course through the maze of choices and options that confront us on our journey. Saint Paul put it this way:

We do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his [God’s] will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding to live in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light (Colossians 1:9-12).

Put simply, Christian discernment is a prayerful pondering or deliberation of the many options available to you in life. Christian discernment means striving to see things from God’s point of view.

Steps toward Discernment
1. Name the problem/decision to be made. (What’s happening here?)
2. Name and claim responsibility for how you feel about the problem/decision. (How do I feel about it?)
3. Through prayerful reflection, examine alternatives. (What is God inviting me to do?)
4. Make and carry out the best possible decision. (Do it!)
5. Evaluate the action and its consequences. (Was this the decision I could make?)

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