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February 28, 2024

By Mary Beth Bracy,
consecrated virgin
Contributing Writer

On Saturday, March 9 a workshop titled “Creating a Culture of Vocations in the Parish” will be held at Our Lady of the Visitation in Norfolk from 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the Fr. Andrew Amyot Parish Center.

The event is sponsored by the Vocation Office in conjunction with LEAD. Bishop Terry R. LaValley will be in attendance at the gathering, and offer the final remarks and blessing.

The workshop is free, including lunch, and faithful from around the diocese are encouraged to attend, including catechists, Parish Council Leaders, priests, and laity.

The first 30 attendants to register will receive a free copy of the book “The Harvest: A Guide to Vocation Ministry in Education.”

Leticia Ramirez, who will present at the workshop, is a wife, mother, grandmother and educator who was born into an immigrant Catholic family.

That family was the seedbed for the growth of her faith and passion for sharing with families about the importance of supporting and promoting vocations in their parishes.

In her early marriage, and for the last 42 years, she and her husband have worked in youth ministry, as catechists and later as staff for youth retreats.

Throughout those years, Leticia and her husband have encouraged youth to discern their vocation and to be open to listening to God’s call for their lives. This journey has brought Leticia to Vocation Ministry and to bringing that awareness to parishes throughout the country.

The morning presentation will include an introduction to vocations and Vocation Ministry, along with statistics that support the need to promote vocations. Ramirez will explain why the parish is the best place for this lay-led ministry/committee. She will also lay out the recipe for a vocation-producing parish: Supportive Priest, Youth Ministry, and Vocation Ministry/committee. In addition, Ramirez will discuss proven effective activities in the categories of Prayer, Awareness and Education, Youth, and Affirmation. She will invite people to discern and provide examples on the positive impact of vocation-producing parishes and dioceses.

In the afternoon, Ramirez will talk about the importance of education in promoting vocations. She will answer questions like: Why do we need to promote vocations in every classroom? and provide examples of vocation-producing classrooms. There will be more practical activities for Prayer, Awareness and Education, and Affirmation. Her presentation will also include “Saints to inspire” and introduce the resources “The Harvest” and Vocationministry.com

Father Christopher Carrara and Sister Mary Eamon, SSJ of the Vocation Office for our diocese will also share about upcoming events and how people can partner in fostering vocations. They will have resources available for participants to take back to parishes to help create a Parish Vocation Committee.

Sister Mary Eamon shared our Diocesan Theme, which Bishop Valley often preaches about: “Renew Faith, Nurture Hope, Discover Love! Christ-led, Christ-fed, and Hope-filled.”

She also shared several quotes for this article, including Pope Francis’ words: “I am a mission on this earth.” And, as St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, wrote: “At last I have found my calling: my call is love. Indeed, I have found my proper place in the Church ... In the heart of the Church, my Mother, I will be love.”

It is the hope that faithful will generously respond in attending the workshop to help nurture an environment in their parishes where vocations will grow and blossom. In the words of Bishop LaValley, “Every person has a vocation. The first vocation that each of us acquires by virtue of our baptism is to become a saint, to be holy.
As the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” teaches: “All the faithful, whatever their condition or state--though each in his own way---is called by the Lord to that perfection of sanctity by which the Father himself is perfect.” (CCC, #825)  We will build a culture where such awareness of our baptismal call is nurtured and where Church vocations are encouraged and celebrated. Genuine vocations will surface, indeed, flourish in the Diocese of Ogdensburg as our energy and fervor to bring Christ to others increase.” (“We Are Called” resource book)

To register for the workshop, visit https://www.rcdony.org/CreatingCulture

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