Double vocations celebrations to help laity embrace universal call to holiness

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All Saints Day in the Diocese of Phoenix this year will feature a coordinated effort helping Catholics of all ages embrace their call to holiness.

The diocesan Office of Consecrated Life and the Office of Vocations are co-hosting dual, overlapping celebrations Nov. 1 to mark National Vocations Awareness Week. One celebration will be geared toward English-speaking Catholics and the other toward Spanish-speaking Catholics. They’ll be held at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Scottsdale and St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Phoenix’s Maryvale neighborhood, respectively.

Each celebration will feature a similar format that includes Mass, a vocations panel Q-and-A, hosted information tables, exhibits of religious art and goods, door prizes plus “Saint and Sweeting” for the younger ones.

“It’s Nov. 1, so we’re inviting all the children to dress up as their favorite saint,” said Sr. Anthony Mary Diago, RSM, director of the Office of Consecrated Life.

She has seen similar events in the Archdiocese of Sydney and noted that St. Patrick, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Dymphna, St. Elizabeth Seton and Bl. Mother Teresa are often popular among the children.

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Vocations Celebrations

Event posters

Features Mass, vocations panel, information tables, “Saints and Sweeting,” door prizes and a brief magic show

English: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 1 at Blessed Sacrament Parish, 11300 N. 64th St. in Scottsdale. Includes 10:30 a.m. Mass with Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted.

Spanish: 1-7 p.m. Nov. 1 at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, 3140 N. 51st Ave.

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A highlight for many at both events could be Holy Cross Father Jim Blantz. The retired priest also has a not-so-hidden talent in the world of magic. He’s been performing magic shows and donating proceeds to international missions for some 40 years.

The magic show should give kids something normal to relate with and remind them that priests can be “normal” too and have fun, Sr. Anthony Mary said. Fr. Paul Sullivan, director of vocations, said audiences would not be disappointed. He sees outreaches like the magic show and the vocations event itself as chances to gather in the name of fun, much like the inaugural John Paul II Classic basketball game over the summer. It featured a tight but friendly match between local priests and seminarians.

“These events help us to see that the Church truly is a family,” Fr. Sullivan said.

Sr. Anthony Mary expects roughly 50 priests and religious representing various communities to be at each event. The Diocese of Phoenix has 133 sisters representing at least 22 communities of women religious and 19 communities of men religious serving local Catholics. There are another 12 brothers in four different communities.

They’ll be prepared to answer common questions children and adults ask about their vocations. Children often wonder if sisters who wear a habit also wear it to sleep or why sisters wear a ring. A big one from the adults is to learn how their family reacted to news of a possible religious vocation. They also wonder if priests or sisters ever dated or desired parenthood.

“Then I explain that I’m married to Christ and I’m a spiritual mother and I have many more children,” Sr. Anthony Mary said.

She said the hope for the Vocations Celebration is to foster a positive environment for people to learn about the gift of religious consecrated life, the various communities serving in the Diocese of Phoenix and for kids to consider God’s plan for them to grow in holiness.

Fr. Sullivan agreed. “Each and every person is made to live some vocation to do the Lord’s will. The Church flourishes as each of us live our vocations. First, our call to holiness and secondly our call to some mission for Him in family, ministerial or missionary life or in religious life.”

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