Called by Name

This is a program designed to facilitate input from parishioners regarding potential candidates for the priesthood, diaconate, and religious life.  Among its main components are an emphasis, within Sunday homilies, on the need for vocations—and parishioner response cards.  The follow-on action is the presentation of a Serra Challenge Coin to the prospective candidate.

Serra Participation

  • Acquiring, distributing, and collecting response cards
  • Coordinating date(s) on which homilies will focus on vocations
  • Hosting informational events

Summary

Soliciting the input of parishioners is a productive way to help identify potential vocations. The CALLED BY NAME program is designed to acquire those inputs in an effective fashion.

The core of CALLED BY NAME is a process that takes place during Mass, wherein the priest talks of the need for vocations in his homilies, and parishioners fill out response cards with the names of men and women they believe both have a call to the priesthood, diaconate, or religious life…and the qualities to live out such a vocation.

The program has been used by many U.S. dioceses, and it has, in some cases, produced hundreds of responses.  CALLED BY NAME is a proven, inexpensive, ‘grassroots’ method of identifying people who may be called to the priesthood, diaconate, and religious life—while also encouraging all Catholics to be Christ’s hands and feet in working for the harvest.

The Serra Challenge Coin is presented to prospective candidates to encourage them to reflect upon the opportunities for a religious vocation.

invitation coin

Program Outline

CALLED BY NAME is a program that an effective way to help a diocese identify potential vocations is to get input from parishioners

The process takes place during Mass.

  • During the homily, the priest talks of the need for vocations.
  • Parishioners are asked to fill out response cards with the names of men and women that they believe have the qualities to live out such a religious vocation and a possible call to the priesthood, deaconate, or religious life.

Once prospective candidates have been identified, they may be presented with a Serra Challenge Coin that they can carry to remind them to consider a vocation to the religious life.

This tool is used by many U.S. dioceses and has been shown to be an effective and inexpensive method to identify young people who may have a vocation.  It also encourages Catholics to participate as Christ’s hands and feet in working for the harvest.

All Year

Lead Time 1-2 Months

Low Effort

Low Cost

Program History and Development

Studies show that those who enter a vocation were encouraged by family, friends and others a number of times.

CALLED BY NAME program helps dioceses identify potential vocations by asking members of parishes to recommend men and women they believe may have a call to the priesthood, diaconate, or religious life, as well as the qualities to live out that vocation.

The program is administered at the parish level and has been used by many U.S. dioceses. It has, in some cases, produced hundreds of responses. CALLED BY NAME recognizes outstanding individuals (teens and adults) and encourages them to explore a vocational call. It also makes all Catholics aware of the need to pray for and foster vocations.

CALLED BY NAME can be set up and completed in less than a month. The program requires a multi-level effort: parish staff and volunteers work together; printed and digital materials are utilized, including cards to place in parish pews, homily notes, intercessions, sample bulletin announcements, brochures and posters. (Dioceses can lower costs by creating online forms in place of printed pew cards and by making all materials and logos available online for parishes to download as PDF files.)

Carrying out the program is a straightforward process. Team members first make sure that posters and bulletin announcements are in place. Brochures explaining the CALLED BY NAME program can be placed in the pews a few weeks before the actual event. (Brochures are optional.) The next week, response cards are placed in the pews, and parish priests introduce the event in their homilies by identifying the need for priests and religious, and encouraging parishioners to fill out the cards and place them in the collection basket. Parishioners are asked to consider whether those they think might be called to the priesthood or religious life have the right qualities. Then, in their homilies the following Sunday, priests tell their own vocation stories and talk about their lives. They again ask parishioners to fill out response cards. After the cards are collected, parish staff and volunteers sort the responses. Either the parish or the diocese sends letters inviting nominated individuals to an introductory vocations event organized by the diocese—usually a dinner or retreat.

The Serra Challenge Coin was introduced in 2023 and has had wide acceptance in U.S. and Canadian dioceses.

Resources

Reference Materials:

Resource from Vianney Vocations

Called by Name Kit

Link to a PDF of an easy-to-follow, one-page guide to implementing the CALLED BY NAME program in parishes—from the Diocese of Brooklyn (NY)
Implementing the CBN Program [pdf]

Called By Name: Invitation to Vocations Documents

Here are all the documents a parish or diocese needs to conduct the Called by Name Program prepared by the Serra Club of Houston using resources from other dioceses. https://vianneyvocations.com/product/serra-challenge-coin/ 

 

Serra Invitation Coin for Men in English and Spanish (box of 5)

Encourage vocations by giving young men this invitation coin engraved with the question: “Have you considered becoming a priest?” This custom-minted coin is larger than a silver dollar and twice as thick; it is a permanent reminder to consider God’s call.

Serra Invitation Coin for Women

invitation coinEncourage vocations by giving young women this challenge coin engraved with the question: “Have you considered religious life?”  Coins come in a handsome box, with a card encouraging priests or sisters to give the coins to women in their parishes.

Serra SPARK Helpers©

Here are all the documents a parish or diocese needs to conduct the Called by Name Program prepared by the Serra Club of Houston using resources from other dioceses.
Download Called by Name: A Serra Turnkey Vocations Program [pdf]
Download Called by Name Cards (in both English and Spanish) [Word document]

invitation coin

““Let us face the vocations challenge with that equanimity and realism which take into account the
effectiveness of prayer,
and which are never devoid of supernatural hope.”

Pope St. John Paul II