The Albany diocesan Vocations Team is sponsoring its fourth annual "Run 4 Vocations" to promote awareness of many different kinds of vocations, religious and secular, April 20 at The Crossings park in Colonie.

The goal of the day, which includes a 5K run and walk and a fun run for children, has been to "raise prayers" instead of funds. Nearby Christ Our Light parish in Loudonville has been designated an official prayer site during the event for those who can't make it to the run.

"It's a different way of raising awareness for vocations and planting the seed," said Sister Rosemary Cuneo, CR, diocesan vocations director. She tells high school and college participants, "We're celebrating this day because God has a plan for you.

"People now realize that [a vocation] is more than a career that we're talking about," she continued. "It's a commitment. [The run has] taken time to catch on, but I don't think the efforts are in vain. People talk about it. They ask me when we're going to have it. They're more open to it now."

She believes the run, like all events sponsored by the office, has a role to play in influencing the collective consciousness of today's Catholics.

"Our society is caught up in so much busyness that sometimes we don't even realize the dilemma we're in with commitment," Sister Rosemary said. On "most TV programs, you take for granted that [couples are] not married. Things we hold sacred have been compromised. The vision has been turned upside down - I think because we have so much offered to us today."

Society has lost the idea that every individual is created for a unique purpose, she added. "It's not just a merry-go-round we're on here. There's a deeper purpose. A lot of society has crept into our way of evaluating things."

That doesn't just affect religious life, Sister Rosemary noted.

"We're in a culture and we're in a movement which is challenging us to remind ourselves, remind our children, that commitment is important - and yet around us, our government and our leaders are telling us that it's not.

"The run is not going to solve all these things, but it's something that we hope will plant a positive take on why we're called," she said. "Even if it helps one person to be brought closer to the understanding of this tremendous gift we have, it would be worth it. We're trying to get people to look into their hearts, so we're trying all different ways."