A new vocations curriculum developed by the Congregation of Holy Cross, U.S. Province Office of Vocations and the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education has received an Imprimatur from Most Rev. Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in the United States.
“To Make God Known, Loved and Served” is a free, downloadable vocations curriculum (curriculum.holycrossvocations.org) for grade-school teachers and catechists to help students come to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Church’s vision of vocation for the faithful.
The name for the curriculum comes from the writings of the Congregation's founder, Blessed Basile Moreau. In Christian Education, his treatise on pedagogy, Moreau wrote of the virtue of zeal as being "the great desire to make God known, loved, and served, and thus to bring knowledge of salvation to others."
Moreau was a big proponent of promoting vocations, writing to his young community in one of his first circular letters: "What an immense harvest! But how few the laborers! Pray, then, the Father of the family to send us laborers. Encourage all the vocations you can; get new members for your association" (CL9 - January 1, 1840).
By using this vocations curriculum, the goal is for elementary and middle-school students to become engaged and begin to consider God’s call in their own life. That can be a committed single life, marriage or vocations to the priesthood or religious life.
“We saw a need when visiting our schools and in talking with our lay teachers. Many teachers are excited about the possibility of helping to encourage their students to consider a vocation to the religious life and priesthood. Yet, we would often find that they were not confident in talking about it, as it was not their own vocation. They did not know the inner workings of what draws someone to religious life or the priesthood,” said Fr. James Gallagher, C.S.C., Director of the U.S. Province Office of Vocations. “Instead of focusing specifically on the religious life and priesthood, we wanted to cover all vocations, knowing that all of the students would benefit from looking at God’s call in their life.”
“To Make God Known, Loved and Served” makes that engagement with students easier. Each grade-level curriculum includes an introduction, supplemental materials, lessons and activity pages and builds on the previous year’s study.
To draw out the uniqueness and beauty of each particular vocation, the curriculum employs "saintly models" that are used throughout the grade levels. Holy Cross’ own Servant of God, Fr. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., is used as an example of the priesthood; and St. André Bessette is highlighted as a saintly model of the male religious life.
The other saintly models are: Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, and Blessed Louis and Marie Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux.
The curriculum was the collaborative effort of many, not only within the Holy Cross Office of Vocations, but also with ACE educators. ACE developed the individual grade-level lesson plans based on Holy Cross’ theology of vocations.
The curriculum is available for free to any Catholic educator. The free material can be downloaded for use as individual lessons, or printed and assembled into resources for ongoing use. The entire curriculum is available at https://www.holycrossusa.org/article/vocations-curriculum/.
An Imprimatur is official approval from the Catholic Church. Bishop Rhoades gave the Imprimatur on January 14, 2014.
Special thanks to Stephanie Sibal, who works in Communications for the U.S. Province, for contributing to this article.