A Publication of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland
Catholic Voice Online Edition
Front Page In this Issue Around the Diocese Forum News in Brief Calendar Commentary
Mission Statement
Contact Us
Publication Dates
Back Issues

Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland

Movie Reviews

Mass Times

Catholic Voice
articles list
placeholder Father Sullivan's spiritual experience with Our Lady of Fatima

St. Peter Martyr
Parish celebrates 100th year

discussions should mark 2015
synod meeting

Synod ends by affirming tradition

Mission to Burundi: hope in the midst of poverty

Blue Mass honors those who say,
'I can make
a difference'

Bishop's Appeal passes goal

Elizabeth House
helps women
on their journey

Classy Crafters
help fill food pantry
in Concord

Black Catholic
History Month

Blessing of
the animals

A new director takes over at San Damiano

A sampling of upcoming retreats

Walks for the poor
aid East Bay
St. Vincent de Paul

10 anniversary couples win drawing

List your
senior events

Come to the
banquet: Recognize and call each other
to serve

Three who are called
to serve

Knights' vocations dinner

Vocation stories
come to the

Week celebrates vocations

Report looks
at women's
religious orders

placeholder October 27, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 18   •   Oakland, CA
National Vocations Awareness Week

Come to the banquet:
Recognize and call each other to serve

Rev. Neal Clemens

WELCOME TO THE BANQUET! A month ago I was attending a conference that was held in Long Island, New York for vocation directors. At the opening dinner Cardinal Dolan came to my table and reached over the shoulder of the person seated next to me and, without asking, snatched a chunk of his New York style soft pretzel and ran the piece across the cheese sauce of my uneaten hotdog that was before me. It was Cardinal Dolan's way of saying to all of us, "Welcome to the Banquet".

A "Banquet" is more than a pretzel and cheese sauce; it's an invitation to live and celebrate. On Sept. 17, 1961 I was welcomed to the greatest of all banquets: I was baptized, which configured me to the person of Christ (CCC 1272) which by its very nature called me to a vocation; a vocation to being a Christian (CCC 1270).

I like to think of our baptismal Christian vocation as a banquet. You say "yes" to God's invitation to come to the banquet and God will take you places you never dreamed of going and doing things you never dreamed of doing. The Sacraments nourish our Christian vocation in the banquet of God's love. Our Christian baptism means our lives are about a vocation and certainly never a career.

of religious life?

Rev. Neal Clemens
Director of Vocations

Rev. Sergio Lopez, JCD
Co-director of Vocations

To say "I have a career" is to simply say that I have a part of my life that exists outside of my Christian vocation — that I stand just outside the door of the banquet hall pondering if I ought to enter.

A Christian vocation builds up the Body of Christ and infuses the world with God's love. A career serves the individual and their deepest needs and wants.

Our Christian baptism means we live our lives to build up the Kingdom of God here on earth. My vocation as a Christian has brought me to serve as a chaplain in the Air Force, the vicar for priests for the Diocese for Oakland and now the director for vocations.

My role as the director for vocations is to support your vocation in life be that married, single, lay apostolate, religious life and priesthood.

Sometimes God requires our participation to bring God's work about. Recall the feeding of the 5,000 and how Jesus sent his disciples out to see how much food there was and the disciples returned with the five loaves and two fishes. Jesus sent them out again to distribute the loaves and fishes that fed the 5,000 and again to collect what remained after everyone had eaten their fill.

You and I are called to participate in encouraging others in the Body of Christ: The banquet is more than pretzels and cheese dogs; it involves recognizing and calling each other to serving.

(Father Clemens is director of vocations in the Oakland diocese and parochial administrator at St. Paschal Baylon Parish in Oakland.)

back to topup arrow


Copyright © 2014 The Catholic Voice, All Rights Reserved. Site design by Sarah Kalmon-Bauer.