What is the difference between a vocation and a career? Career and vocation are very similar words and outside a Catholic setting they are used interchangeably which causes confusion because in our Church they are two distinctly different terms. A career is a way of making a living to sustain oneself and family which is generally grouped into a series of jobs. For instance, a person goes to college and graduates as an engineer. As the years pass the engineer might progress from an engineer to a lead engineer, a subject matter expert, then a manager. This progression could have occurred over many years and speaks of the person's career.
A vocation is different. A vocation isn't so much a job but who the person is and more importantly it comes from God. Vocation comes from the Latin vocare which means "to call." This call is found in Scripture as it states "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone! Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength" (Dt 6:4-5 NABRE). We are all called to holiness and how this is played out in our lives is different. There are four different callings to our vocation: marriage, religious life, priesthood, and the single life. All of these callings are ordered to get us closer to God.
In a marriage the union is meant for each spouse to grow with each other and get each other to heaven. Religious life is a call to join a community to build up the Kingdom of God. They are sisters, brothers, monks, or nuns but they all strive in a unique way to serve God through service and prayer. Men in religious life can also be ordained to the priesthood. The priesthood is a calling to serve God's people in a religious community or a diocese (archdiocese). A priest is not "better" than any other Catholic, but have a special role in leading the people in prayer and administering the sacraments. The single life is another way in which a person can live out their vocation. It is an opportunity for a man or women to use their time to serve God with the freedom they have that is characterized by the single life.
It is important to pray for all vocations, but in a special way pray for an increase of vocations for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. There is a great need as "the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest" (Mt 9:37-38). If you feel you are called to the priesthood learn more at http://www.lavocations.org/.
Prayer for Vocations
Father, in every generation you provide
ministers of Christ and the Church.
We come before you now, asking that you
call forth more men to serve our Archdiocese
in the ministerial priesthood.
Give us priests who will lead and guide
your holy people gathered by Word and Sacrament.
Bless us with priestly vocations so that we can continue
to be a truly Eucharistic Church,
strengthened in our discipleship of Jesus Christ,
your Only Son.
Raise up, we pray, men who are generous in their service,
willing to offer their lives and all their gifts
for your greater glory and for the good of your people.
We make our prayer in the presence and power
of the Holy Spirit, through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Tommy Green was born in Pasadena, California to Margie and Jim Green. He grew as the youngest of three siblings in Glendora where he attended and received all of his sacraments at St. Dorothy's Parish. After graduating Glendora High School, he began his college football career at Citrus College. In his third game with Citrus, he had a devasting knee injury that led to him devoting much more time to pray, the sacraments and study of the faith. It was during this time that he felt the call from God to enter seminary and become a priest. He entered Juan Diego House, the college formation house for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, where he graduated with a degree in Philosophy with a minor in communications at Cal State Dominguez Hills. After a year of studying theology at St. John's Seminary and his third total year in seminary, he decided to withdrawal from seminary to further discern the possibility of a different vocation. During this time, he taught religion and coached football at St. Paul High School while earning a master's degree in theology at the Augustine Institute. However, after only his second year away from seminary, God's calling for him to become a priest never left. He returned to study for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles with the projected ordination year of 2024. Tommy enjoys spending time with friends and family, eating good food and drinking coffee, playing sports and reading. He looks forward to being a priest for Jesus Christ and his Church by revealing the love and joy that a life with Christ entails.