Vocation: doing someone for the love of it; a feeling that God is calling someone to a special ministry or way of serving others.
Examples of vocation in the Bible: God called people to do his will (e.g. Abraham and Moses)
How is Christian vocation different from other vocations:
- Some may feel called to be a doctor or a teacher.
- These callings may be connected in some way to a Christian calling to serve others.
- Christian vocation is not about being successful or acheiving great things in work & life.
- Christian vocation is fundamentally a call from God, which asks people to serve & love others.
CATHOLIC TEACHING: The Parable of the Talents -
- Although talents meant currencies in the passage, we now understand them to be gifts
- Could suggest people should use these gifts to live responsibly
- Could suggest that it is important to live an active/productive life, rather than being lazy
Responding to God's call in the Catholic Church:
- Men and women called to live active lay lives supporting their Church in different ways
The Sacrament of Holy Orders:
- Men called to be deacons, priests and bishops
- Women and men called to live single lives as members of religious communities (monks&nuns)
The Role and Vocation of the Laity
Lay people: members of the Church who are not in Holy Orders.
Responsibilities of the Laity:
- To live their lives according to Christian teachings - social, political and economical aspects
- Bring their faith into ordinary human life
- Form a communtiy that is recognised as the people of God
- Spread Word of God
Lay Ministry: a role of service within the Church, such as a reader or Eucharistic Minister
The Calling of Lay People:
- To Witness - (e.g. support worship --- altar servers etc. distribute Holy Communion)
- To Teach - (e.g. preach the Gospel, become a Catechist)
- To Lead - (e.g. take Communion to the sick, participate in parish councils, work for justice)
CATHOLIC TEACHING: "To spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the Earth"
The Role of a Deacon
Deacon: a minister who may lead some services such as Baptism and marriage, reads the Gospel at Mass and participate in charity such as visiting the sick.
The Role of a Deacon:
- Maybe in full time employment
- Can be single or married
- Maybe a permanent deacon or training to be a priest
Liturgy: He may preside at baptisms, weddings, funerals and lead people in prayer
The Word: He may read the Gospel and preach to others
Charity: He serves the need of the people, especially the poor
The deason serves the Bishop, who may ask him to carry out additional parish duties, university and prison chaplaincy work, or other social or spiritual work linked to the parish.
The Role of a Priest
CATHOLIC TEACHING: The role of a priest is to "preach the Gospel, to shepherd the faithful and to celebrate the divine worship"
The Priest can be described as:
- a disciple: someone who has heard Jesus' call to follow him
- an apostle: in that he is sent out to serve others
- a presbyter: someone who has a duty to car for/support a group of people
- one who presides: he leads, gathers them together for Mass and offers absolution
Duties of a priest:
- Conduct funerals, baptisisms and prepare candidates for confirmation
- Visit the sick and bereaved
- Serve the wider world through charitable concerns
- Proclaim the Word of God and share His message of love to help people grow in their faith
- Offer absolution in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (only the priest has this power)
- Lead people in worship
- Minister of the Eucharist (only the priest can consecrate the bread and wine at Mass)
Importance and Challenge of Priesthood
Importance and Challenge of Priesthood:
- Priest is a vital part of the life and service of the Church
- To be a priest is not to be someone better than other Christians - it is a role some people feel called to perform
The Priest is the most important person in the parish because:
- only he has the power to absolve sins
- he brings Christ into the lives of people
- without the priest, there can be no sacraments
- only he can offer Mass
Celibacy: abstaining from sexual relationships; a vow taken by people entering the religious life
Importance of celibacy in priesthood:
- Follows the example of Christ, who did not marry
- It is easier to remain focused on Christ and the Church with undivided love
- Marriage and family life is time consuming - there should be no competition between love of family and love of the Church
- Priests often need to be moved to new situations which could be difficult with a family
Married Catholic Priests: You can be a married Catholic priest if you convert from Church of England (and you were married as a priest there) to Catholicism.
Arguments FOR Married Priests:
- The men Jesus chose to be his disciples were married - PRIESTS ARE DISCIPLES
- A priest who understands the challenges of family life may be better able to support parishioners having family difficulties
- Some men may feel called to both priesthood and marriage
- There is a shortage of priests so allowing married priests could solve this issue
The Ordination of Women
Women cannot currently be ordained in the Catholic Church.
Arguments FOR the Ordination of Women:
- Some women feel they are called to be priests & if God is calling them, they should answer that call
- If God made everyone in his image (including women), then anyone should be able to represent Christ at the altar
- The Church has changed other long standing traditions such as Mass only being said in Latin
- Women's position in society was very different in the time of Jesus to what it is today
- Jesus treated women equally to men
Catholic Church's Arguments AGAINST the Ordination of Women:
- There is a long standing tradition that only men can be ordained
- Christ only appointed men as apostles
- There are other ways women can serve God in lay life or by taking religious orders
- The priest is a symbol of Christ and so should have some similarities to him (ie be male)
Vocation to the Religious Life
Religious Life: dedicating life to God, taking vows and living in a particular holy way
Apostolic Orders (Active):
- Apostolic orders have a life of prayer
- They are actively involved outside their monastery, convent or house
- They are involved in different works of the Church: education, health care, serving the poor etc.
- Centred around prayer - they must live separate from the world to focus on prayer
- They may stay within the community house or be semi-contemplative
- They also undertake work in agriculture or making liturgical items for the Church etc.
What Vows do people in the Religious Orders take?
- Vow of Poverty: live simply, share talents/money/material goods
- Vow of Chastity: aka celibacy, choosing to share love & friendship rather than marriage
- Vow of Obedience: obeying the superior in the order, listen & obey God's will