National Religious Vocation Conference study on family finds key influences to Catholic vocations

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Parents play crucial role in future of religious life and priesthood

Our goal is to help Catholic parents understand their crucial role in the future of religious life and ordained ministry

A major study on the role of families in nurturing vocations found that recent entrants to religious life and diocesan priesthood come from families that go to Mass weekly, pray together often, have active faith lives, and encourage family members to be open to vocation options. The study, commissioned by the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) and conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, also found that new entrants responding to the survey come from families who:

-Give importance to private and public religious practices—in addition to Mass attendance—such as saying grace before meals and bedtime prayers, displaying religious art and objects, and actively participating in parish life and charitable services
-Witness and talk about their faith in their daily lives
-Attend Catholic schools or receive parish-based religious education
-Regularly eat dinner together and gather as a family for games or discussions
-Have Catholic periodicals and other media available in the household
-Support the idea of a vocation to religious life and the priesthood

“The study confirmed what we’ve known instinctively: Families are the seedbed of vocations,” says NRVC Executive Director Brother Paul Bednarczyk, C.S.C. “Our goal is to help Catholic parents understand their crucial role in the future of religious life and ordained ministry and encourage them to create a culture of vocations within their families.”

The new taboo? Catholics have a hard time talking to their parents about vocations

Although most entrants to religious life and diocesan priesthood come from families that are open to vocations, approximately half of the respondents found it difficult to start a discussion with their family about their vocation, though they usually found support once they broached the topic.

Among the few who were actually discouraged from entering religious life or the priesthood, family concerns included that the family member was: “wasting” his or her talents, rushing things, or forsaking a career or marriage. However, among those families responding to the survey, most report that they are not worried now about the future of their family member who entered religious life or the diocesan priesthood. “She is so happy being a religious sister,” said one mother, echoing the comments of others, “There is no need to worry.”

The NRVC/CARA Study on the Role of the Family in Nurturing Vocations to Religious Life and Priesthood is available online at nrvc.net.
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Contact:
Patrice Tuohy
TrueQuest Communications
phone: 773-516-0699 cell
e-mail: pjtuohy@truequestweb.com
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The National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) was founded in 1988 as a professional organization of men and women committed to vocation awareness, invitation, and discernment to consecrated life as brothers, sisters, and priests. The NRVC has approximately 900 members, most of whom are vocation ministers for religious congregations. The NRVC serves its members by providing continuing education, resources, and services for professional growth.

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) is a national, nonprofit, Georgetown University-affiliated research center that conducts social-scientific studies about the Catholic Church. Founded in 1964, CARA has three major dimensions to its mission: to increase the Church's self-understanding; serve the applied research needs of Church decision-makers; and advance scholarly research on religion.

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help the world’s disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The Foundation currently conducts strategic initiatives in six priority areas: providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance use, helping children affected by HIV and AIDS, supporting transition-age youth in foster care, and extending Conrad Hilton’s support for the work of Catholic sisters.

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Patrice Tuohy
National Religious Vocation Conference
since: 05/2011
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