Fostering Your Children's Vocations

"Fostering your children's vocations" by Ellen Mongan (

Courtesy of the Knights of the Holy Eucharist. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Parents, how can you help your children choose their vocations? Fostering vocations in the home is such an important topic that Brother David of the Knights of the Holy Eucharist, a Franciscan order, asked if I could write on this subject. If your son is discerning a vocation, they would be a great place to “Come and See.”

The church should never take a vacation from fostering vocations; neither should parents. Why? The Church needs holy priests, nuns, deacons, singles, and families. All vocations are important. Moms and dads, you can guide your child to the vocation of God’s choice for their life.

We need to help our children choose wisely. Their vocation will fit their personality, gifts, talents, desires and temperament, just as ours does.  What’s a mother to do? Pray fervently, train them up in the way of the Lord, and be a student of your offspring. This will equip your child to make a well thought out decision for their future. There is one more thing.  We need to surrender them to the Heavenly Father and put our trust in Him. Will this be harder than walking on that water towards Jesus?  What do you think? I know one thing it takes a bucket full of grace and unshakable faith. Not to worry, what we lack Jesus fills in the gaps. Besides moms, you have been practicing putting Jesus into your child from the time you found out you were pregnant.

“You are fearfully and wonderfully made for a purpose,” and so are your children. As you pass your faith down to your children, they will lean to discern His voice in the quiet of their soul. He will guide them in all things, even their vocation. Throughout the process of discernment encourage them to experience meeting moms, dads, priests deacons, religious and singles.  Encourage them to ask questions. If they have discerned God’s calling on their life to be a priest or join an order, help them to confirm this by visiting different orders. Go and See!

A word to the wise, in order to be holy, they must first be whole. Only God can make us whole on the inside.  He uses parents as His hands, feet, mouth and heart to do this. Teach your children the Catholic faith and how to develop virtue so they may become whole. Choosing a vocation when one is broken-hearted from a bad relationship, chronically illness, in a crisis, or experiencing desolation is not a good time to say, “I do,” nor join the seminary. Encourage your child to take some time to heal first. There is no rush. Once whole, they can begin the journey towards discerning their vocation.

Moms, follow the Blessed Mothers example, by pointing them to Jesus and telling them to, “Do whatever He tells you.” Then ask Mary to pray for your children. Remember that the shoe needs to fit their foot not yours.  Let them try on different shoes so once a vocation is chosen it will fit them perfectly. Always let them freely chose and pray to have the grace for you to freely accept their choice.

Boldly proclaim with the psalmist, “From where comes my help. My help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven earth.” God will provide the daily grace to guide your children to follow Him in whatever vocation they choose: Married, Priest, Deacon, Religious, or Single?

They will come to know as we all do: I am what I am only by the grace of God!

24 Ways to Foster Vocations in your Home

  1. Know your faith, live the faith, and pass it down.
  2. Educate your children through Catholic school or CCD.
  3. Be a warrior in prayer and example. Fight the good fight of faith.
  4. Adopt a family priest and invite him to your home often.
  5. Live your vocation with joy, not griping.
  6. Take the time to answer your children’s questions about the faith and moral issues of the day.
  7. Support the church in word and deed.
  8. Pray together for vocations.
  9. Volunteer to take the vocation prayer chalice or icon home, if it is available in your parish.
  10. Teach the faith about current news and issues at the dinner table conversations.
  11. Pray the family rosary: Venerable Father Patrick Peyton said, “The family that prays together stays together.”
  12. Memorize Catholic prayers.
  13. Assist at Mass as a family and encourage daily Mass attendance.
  14. Learn about the saint of the day.
  15. Frequent the sacrament of Reconciliation as a household.
  16. Encourage Catholic friends for your children and spouse.
  17. Commit to a family Adoration hour. Stop often for a visit with Jesus.
  18. Have a prayer room for all to use in your home. Keep a personal prayer time each day.
  19. Teach the Scriptures in song and word throughout the day.
  20. Share your testimonies and faith stories.
  21. Visit shrines and churches when traveling.
  22. Follow Catholic traditions and liturgical seasons in your home.
  23. Shower Christ’s love upon all, especially your spouse and children.
  24. Cultivate virtues in your children and train them up in the way of the Lord.

Download a printable version of this list.

Copyright 2019 Ellen Mongan


About Author

Ellen Mongan, a Catholic writer and speaker, has been married more than 40 years to Deacon Pat Mongan. They have 7 children and 12 grandchildren. Ellen is a host of WOW Radio Podcasts, a religious columnist for the Augusta Chronicle, and has spoken on both radio and television. She is the founder of Sisters in Christ, Little Pink Dress Ministry, and Women-Fests.


  1. (Mr.)Lee Gilbert on

    Hi Ellen,

    While it’s hard to quarrel with anything on your to do list of 24 items, honestly as a totality it seems overdone .

    As my friend Fr. Daniel used to say, K.I.S.S. Keep it super simple. So, following that advice, I would say

    FIRST OF ALL, get rid of the TV. In other words get the bad stuff out, all secular media.

    SECONDLY, to the extent possible, have family evenings together. For us, this meant half an hour of good secular reading ( e.g. Chronicles of Narnia, Swiss family Robinson, etc), half an hour of the life of saint ( book length lives, not the three page version filled with miracles), twenty minutes of catechism. We had a blast

    THIRDLY, from the moment they are conceived, and before, soak them in prayer and make sacrifices, as if you were Monica and your child was the wayward Augustine, for it is easier to keep children in the right way by prayer now than recover them after they have fallen away.

    FOURTHLY, end every day with a prayer, and it does not have to be the Rosary. The importance of this is that it is a kind of distant early warning system, for as the end of the day approaches, any hard feelings have to be dealt with, for otherwise prayer would be sacrilege. Even so perfunctory a prayer such as the Hail Holy Queen is enough, and off to bed you go, enough to bring blessings down on your family.

    All that you suggest is optimal, but at the same time it can be self-defeating. The Rosary is the best, of course, but paradoxically, the best can be the enemy of the good. I have known children who deeply resented having their play ended of an evening and being called in to say the rosary.

    At least this reflects our experience and we did have two vocations for our two children.

  2. Ellen Mongan on

    WOW! Well said. Great advice. I can not argue with two vocation. God has blessed you greatly. Well done .
    P.S. I am a wordy women. Ask my editor .

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