My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
On Nov. 1 we celebrated the feast of All Saints. This solemnity on the Church’s calendar is a day to honor all the saints, known and unknown.
This week is National Vocations Awareness Week, a fitting reminder to all of us of our need for saints in every vocation. As Pope Francis reminds us: “To be saints is not a privilege for the few, but a vocation for everyone.”
As baptized Christians, we are all called to be saints. The Church supports us in our journey towards sainthood, no matter our particular vocation, by the Gospel message, and by the Sacraments. We find direction in the words of Jesus and strength in the Sacraments he instituted.
During National Vocations Awareness Week, we celebrate the life of holiness to which all of us are called. It is a privileged time for us in the Diocese of Norwich to raise awareness of vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life, as well as renew our prayers and support for those who are considering one of these particular vocations.
Indeed, the Lord continues to call young men and women to follow him closely in faith. He continues to call them to a unique life of service in the Church as a priest, deacon or a consecrated man or woman.
God’s people need priests. It is through a priest that God’s mercy is extended to us in the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick and the Holy Eucharist.
God’s people need deacons. It is through a deacon that God’s people are reminded that every vocation is a call to service, following in the footsteps of the One who came not to be served, but to serve.
God’s people needs consecrated men and women. It is through a consecrated man or woman that God’s love for all shines forth in various ways.
God’s people need priests, deacons and consecrated men and women. Above all, it needs men and women of compassion with a sincere love for Christ and a willingness to serve selflessly in the path the Lord marks out for them.
May God our Heavenly Father bless us with more dedicated, holy priests, deacons, and consecrated men and women. May they be inspired by Jesus Christ, supported by our faith community, and respond generously to God's gift of vocation.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Michael R. Cote
Bishop of Norwich