Soliciting the input of parishioners can go a long way toward helping a diocese identify potential vocations. The CALLED BY NAME program is designed to acquire such input in an effective fashion.
At the core of CALLED BY NAME is a process that takes place during Mass, wherein priests talk of the need for vocations in their homilies, and parishioners fill out response cards with the names of men and women they believe both have a call to the priesthood, deaconate, or religious life…and the qualities to live out such a vocation.
The program has been used by many U.S. dioceses, and it has, in some cases, produced hundreds of responses. CALLED BY NAME is a proven, inexpensive, 'grassroots' method of finding people who may be called to the priesthood, deaconate, and religious life—while also encouraging all Catholics to be Christ's hands and feet in working for the harvest.
• Acquiring, distributing, and collecting response cards
• Coordinating date(s) on which homilies will focus on vocations
• Hosting informational events
Studies show that those who enter a vocation were called a number of times by family, friends and others.
The CALLED BY NAME program helps dioceses identify potential vocations by asking members of parishes to recommend men and women they believe may have a call to the priesthood, deaconate, or religious life, as well as the qualities to live out that vocation.
The program, which is administered at the parish level and has been used by many U.S. dioceses, has in some cases produced hundreds of responses. CALLED BY NAME recognizes outstanding teens and adults, and encourages them to explore a vocational call. It also makes all Catholics aware of the need to pray for and foster vocations.
CALLED BY NAME can be set up and completed in less than a month. The program requires a multi-level effort: parish staff and volunteers work together; printed and digital materials are utilized, including cards to place in parish pews, homily notes, intercessions, sample bulletin announcements, brochures and posters. (Dioceses can lower costs by creating online forms in place of printed pew cards and by making all materials and logos available online for parishes to download as PDF files.)
Carrying out the program is a straightforward process. Team members first make sure that posters and bulletin announcements are in place. Brochures explaining the CALLED BY NAME program can be placed in the pews a few weeks before the actual event. (Brochures are optional.) The next week, response cards are placed in the pews, and parish priests introduce the event in their homilies by identifying the need for priests and religious, and encouraging parishioners to fill out the cards and place them in the collection basket. Parishioners are asked to consider whether those they think might be called to the priesthood or religious life have the right qualities. Then, in their homilies the following Sunday, priests tell their own vocation stories and talk about their lives. They again ask parishioners to fill out response cards. After the cards are collected, parish staff and volunteers sort the responses. Either the parish or the diocese sends letters inviting nominated individuals to an introductory vocations event organized by the diocese—usually a dinner or retreat.
Called By Name: Invitation to Vocations Documents
Here are all the documents a parish or diocese need to conduct the Called by Name Program prepared by the Serra Club of Houston using resources from other dioceses.
Link to a PDF of an easy-to-follow, one-page guide to implementing the CALLED BY NAME program in parishes—from the Diocese of Brooklyn (NY):
Web page from the Diocese of Brooklyn (NY) featuring a full complement of links to resources to be used as part of implementing a CALLED BY NAME program in one's parish; contains links to everything from posters to homily talking points to response cards to phone call scripts:
Web page supported by the Diocese of Jefferson City (MO) dedicated to the implementation of the CALLED BY NAME program within the diocese; this page includes resources for bulletin entries, announcements (to be read during Mass), and general intercessions / Prayers of the Faithful:
SPARK: Built by Serrans for Vocation Directors.
A service of Serra International, United States Council, in collaboration with the NCDVD.