The Netherlands is preparing for the first National Vocations Week: from Sunday 3 to Saturday 9 November, there will be a prayer relay with dioceses taking turns in praying day after day with a central focus on the call to priesthood, the diaconate, and to religious life. The red thread will be an icon of St Willibrord, patron saint of the Catholic Church in the Netherlands, celebrated on 7 November. “The purpose of this special week centred on the Feast of Willibrord is to emphasize the key importance of religious vocations for the Church”, a statement from the bishops who promoted the week reads. The event is organised in cooperation with the Conference of Dutch Religious who took responsibility for a day of prayer in the relay schedule. “Willibrord is a constant example, for he too was able to keep his courage up in difficult circumstances and spread the faith”, explained Fr. Patrick Kuipers, responsible for priestly formation in Utrecht. “By this initiative, we want to show that this is a serious matter: the Netherlands is experiencing an ever-growing shortage of priests, and many religious orders and congregations do not grow”, Fr. Kuipers said. “If we, believers, do not ask for new vocations, the Lord will not give them to us. Of course, we also hope that the focus will continue to be on vocations after this week”.