Yesterday, I had an incredible telephone conversation with Fr. Andrew Gawrych, author of The Cross, Our Only Hope: Daily Reflections in the Holy Cross Tradition. The chat, which will air on an upcoming Catholic Moments Podcast episode, centered largely around Fr. Drew's vocation as a priest (he was ordained in 2008) and his work to create a Vocations committee in his own parish.  During the course of our discussion, it became clear to me that his parish, St. John Vianney in the Diocese of Phoenix, is not leaving the vocations issue to chance.  They are building a comprehensive plan which encompasses every age group in their parish and includes vocations to the priesthood, religious life and marriage.  I can't wait for you to hear that discussion and to share how vocations are being fostered in your home diocese.

In the mean time, this morning I read this headline from Catholic News Service:

CNS STORY: Pope says families should create 'spiritual terrain' for vocations

In the article, Pope Benedict XVI is quoted as saying:

"When couples dedicate themselves generously to the education of their children, guiding and orienting them toward the discovery of God's design of love, they prepare that fertile spiritual terrain where vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life arise and mature," the pope said.

He offered a prayer that in the Year for Priests, "Christian families may become small churches in which all the vocations and charisms given by the Holy Spirit will be welcomed and valued."

Pope Benedict's comments, following so closely on the heals of my conversation with Fr. Gawrych, have me questioning whether I've done enough in my own home to till that "fertile spiritual terrain" - I know the answer, sadly, is no.  We talk about vocations, but I think we fall very short.  It's quite perilous, walking the tightrope of raising Catholic teens.  I do my very best to share my love of our faith with them, and yet not to be so overwhelming with it that they begin to turn off.

How fertile is the spiritual terrain around your home?  What works for you and what doesn't?  Is your parish actively working on welcoming and valuing vocations?