Since this weekend is “World Day of Prayer for Vocations,” I would like to address this column to our young men and women in the Diocese of Metuchen.

“Men, have you ever considered the possibility that Jesus is calling you to follow him into the priesthood?” You may be thinking, “Not me, Father…I like romance, too much. Not I, Father….I have no desire to give up my luxury sports car. Not me, Father, I want to make it big in the business world, accumulate lots of money, a big home in the burbs and settle down with a family.“ All the things that prohibit you from saying “yes” right now are good in themselves. Please keep in mind; I am not “recruiting” as if you were being asked to enlist today into a branch of the military. I am simply trying to raise your awareness that Jesus may be asking you to become a priest. I am simply asking you to keep an open mind. I am simply asking you to think about the question prayerfully: “Is Jesus calling you to follow him by loving his People through a life of service to his Church?”

Envision a life wherein you celebrate the public work of the Church every day. Imagine a life in which you preside over the liturgy in service to the faithful who, with you, re-present the sacrific e of Calvary for the good of the Church, for all the living and all the dead. Imagine a life in which you assist the local bishop as you teach, preach and sanctify. Imagine a life in which you initiate babies and adults into the life of the Church through baptism, the Eucharist and confirmation. Imagine a life where you prepare couples for marriage,

where you offi c i a t e a t their nuptial Mass and guide them as they make choices that not only affect family life but also society as a whole. Imagine a life where you prepare the dying for the journey home to Heaven. Picture a life where you counsel those who are burdened, whose hearts are heavy, who need comfort. Envisage a life where you commend the dead to God and offer hope and solace to the surviving family of the deceased. It is a good life, a fulfilling life – and it can be yours. No dotted line to sign on today, guys – just give Jesus your ear and listen prayerfully for the answer to the question of discernment: “Jesus, are you calling me to follow you into the priesthood?” “Young women, have you ever considered the possibility that Jesus is calling you to become a religious sister? “Not me, Father…I like the guys too much. Not I, Father….I plan to attend law school, make partner by the time I am 40. Not me Father, I want to be a research scientist or possibly an engineer.

Ladies, all these goals are good in themselves. However, remember, I am simply asking you to consider the possibility that Jesus is calling you to serve his Church as a religious sister. Perhaps Jesus is calling you to a community where the scope of religious life encompasses the traditional apostolates of helping the poor, nursing and teaching. Perhaps, Jesus envisions a congregation of women like you who will pray together, work together and live together – with one mission in mind: to draw others to Jesus through evangelization by example, by your words and deeds. By the way,

some sisters are lawyers, physicians, professors, research scientists, engineers! Imagine a life in community with other women who, like you, have left everything behind to follow Jesus, to live as if you and you alone were his spouse. Imagine dedicating your earthly life living out the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience so that others may see in you a sign of the Kingdom of Heaven that awaits the faithful who have been created and redeemed by Jesus Christ, the Lord. Imagine living the consecrated life of a woman religious in order to show others that there is more to life than romance, sports cars, your own business, parties and a big fancy home.

In this column, I have tried to raise awareness among you, the young men and women of the diocese about a possible vocation that only you can fill in the service of the Church. I am only asking you to listen, to give Jesus your ear. Who knows, maybe one day, you will give him your life.

Fr. Comandini is managing editor of “The Catholic Spirit.”