God’s first call for every person is to simply follow Him. You were created to be in relationship with God, and that is His greatest desire for you.
As your relationship with God grows, He will continue to draw you deeper into this relationship, and call you to become more like Christ, to love Him more, and to love others through service. In all these things, you will experience God calling you to a particular vocation.
-Fr. Varghese Srambickal, the Vincentian Congregation, Kerala, India
The Four Main Vocations
The Catholic Church recognizes four main vocations: Priesthood, Religious Life, Marriage and Single Life. God calls everyone to follow Him. Here is a brief outline of the four vocations:
A Catholic priest is a male ordained minister of the Church. Because they give their lives in total service to the Church, priests embrace the gift of celibacy and commit to a life of prayer. They proclaim the Good News, teach the Catholic faith, minister the Sacraments, work to build up their local faith community and lead their faith community in worship. Most priests will minister in a parish setting, while others may serve as chaplains to universities, hospitals, prisons, the armed forces and other industries.
For additional information on Priestly vocations, please contact one of the parish priests or deacons at (410) 766-5070, or call the Vocation Office of the Archdiocese of Baltimore at (410) 547-5431.
A religious priest, brother or sister (nun) commits his or her life to sharing in the life and mission of their religious community. Religious priests, brothers and sisters embrace the call to poverty, chastity and obedience, and nurture their call through a life of celibacy, faith, prayer and service. Religious priests, brothers and sisters serve in areas such as education, health care, parish, youth ministry, aged care, spirituality, pastoral ministry, social work, amongst the poor and as a contemplative, and many will serve as missionaries in other cultures. Depending on the religious order, they may dress in ‘normal’ clothes or in a habit.
A married person lives a vow of faithful love to a spouse through the sacrament of marriage. Husbands and wives share a self-giving, love-giving and life-giving relationship with their spouse, and are committed to helping their spouse grow to human and Christian maturity. They seek to form a family home, and are together the first teachers of their children in Christian faith and values. Married people may serve in their parish community or in the Church in a number of different ways.
A person called to single life comes to believe that remaining single is the true and right way to faithfully live his or her baptismal call. Single men and women embrace the gift of celibacy while living alone, with a family or with others who are single. They are able to devote time and energy in service of others, and may serve in their parish community or in the Church in a number of different ways.
In each vocation, the person lives a life of faith and prayer to continually grow in relationship with God. The Church recognizes that each vocation is equal in the sense that no vocation is better or less than any other. However, because God calls you to a particular vocation – whether marriage, priesthood, religious life or single life – that vocation is the best one for you, and the one that will ‘fit’ you best and make you the most happy.