Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today is the 56th Annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations, and as we pray, united with the whole Church, that more men and women will answer God’s call to the priesthood, the diaconate, and the consecrated life, I would like to apprise you of some of the fruits which your prayers for this intention are bearing within our Archdiocese.

In September, six young men applied and were accepted as seminarians for the Archdiocese of Vancouver. These men were the first RCAV seminarians to begin their seminary formation at the Seminary of Christ the King in Mission with a newly implemented “Spirituality Year.”

The purpose of this year is to assist the men in developing a deep, “spiritual” relationship with Jesus Christ, which will then act as a kind of bedrock foundation to their future academic studies in the major seminary, and, God willing, to their future lives as fully ordained Archdiocesan parish priests.

The formation director for this “Spirituality Year” is Fr. Hien Nguyen, and he, together with the newly accepted seminarians, form a spiritual family of sorts. Their residence is a specially prepared house on the grounds of the Seminary which has been appropriately christened “Nazareth House.” From this home, they will set out, as did Christ from his first home with Joseph and Mary at Nazareth to announce the good news.

Counting these new men, our Archdiocese currently has a total of 25 men in seminary formation.

Thanks be to God, the number of women answering God’s call to serve him as religious is also on the rise. This past year, 11 local young women have professed final vows, first vows, received the habit, or been accepted as postulants in religious orders, most of them in communities that serve in this Archdiocese.

And last, but far from least, the Archdiocese is blessed to have 22 permanent deacons serving in parishes and works of service, with another 10 men currently in formation. Others are actively discerning the vocation by participating in information sessions hosted recently by the Permanent Diaconate Office in Vancouver and Langley.

Today is also Good Shepherd Sunday. To encourage you to “keep up the good work” of praying for vocations, the RCAV Office of Vocations and Seminarians has printed a “Vocations Prayer Card.”

On the front is a beautiful Icon of the Good Shepherd, the original of which was commissioned for the sake of promoting vocations.

On the back is the Archdiocesan Prayer for Vocations. They are free at the back of the church. Please take one on your way out.

I ask that you pray this prayer today and that you pray it daily.

If today you hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, harden not your hearts.

With cordial best wishes and the assurance of my prayers for you and your families, I remain,

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ J. Michael Miller, CSB
Archbishop of Vancouver