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All Catholics are urged to pray that more will be called to the Religious life during National Vocation Awareness Week January 11 through January 17.

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord marks Jesus' initiation into public ministry. At his baptism Jesus is named the Beloved Son of God. With this celebration we recommit ourselves to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Initiated through our baptism we too are the Beloved of God, commissioned to proclaim Good News with our lives.

The observance of National Vocation Awareness Week (NVAW) began in 1976 when the Bishops' Conference designated the 28th Sunday of the year as the beginning of NVAW. In 1997 this celebration was moved to coincide with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

Please pray with us for an increase in vocations to the ordained ministry and the consecrated life:

Lord Jesus, as You once called the first disciples
to make them fishers of men,
let your sweet invitation continue to resound:
Come! follow Me!

Give young men and women the grace
of responding quickly to Your voice.
Support your bishops, priests and consecrated people
in their apostolic labor.

Grant perseverance to our seminarians
and to all those who are carrying out the ideal of a life
totally consecrated to Your service.

Awaken in our community a missionary eagerness.
and do not allow humanity to be lost for the lack of pastors,
missionaries and people dedicated to the cause of the Gospel.

Mary, Mother of the Church, the model of every vocation,
help us to say "Yes" to the Lord Who calls us to cooperate
in the divine plan of salvation.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

(Pope John Paul II)