Praised be Jesus Christ!
This weekend in our parishes our second graders will be receiving their first Holy Communion. At their baptism, their parents made promises to raise them in the Faith and to help them develop their relationship with the Lord throughout their lives as they grow older. Now, as they receive the Body and Blood of the Lord, they are invited to grow even closer to Christ and to be spiritually nourished by him every time they come to Mass.
Today is also the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Will you consider making a special effort to ask the Lord for more vocations to the priesthood and religious life? Here are some simple things you can do:
- Pray for the priests who have ministered to you throughout your life, both living and dead.
- Keep our parish priests in your prayers throughout the week.
- Encourage your children, grandchildren, or other young people to consider a vocation as a priest or religious brother or sister.
- Pray a Rosary for more young men and women in our diocese and parishes to respond to God’s call.
- Pledge to pray for vocations at the international website, www.invisiblemonastery.com.This was inspired by a call from Rome urging Catholics to “organize an ‘invisible monastery’ in which many persons, day and night, are committed to continuous prayer for priestly vocations.
When the Faith is practiced and nourished at home, children are better disposed to discern when God is calling them to a special vocation. I have often felt that our current shortage of vocations is not so much due to God not calling young men and women, but that it is due to the fact that today many of them are not raised in homes and cultures of faith that foster vocations. As a result, many young men and women are not well disposed to discern God’s will in their life. Have they developed a relationship of prayer with God? Are they able to hear him speak to them? And do they trust the goodness of God enough to surrender their lives to him?
In my almost-two years at these three parishes, I have many times heard people express the concern that they have “a good priest” and keep him for more than just a year or two. I understand the concern for stability. It’s hard on a parish when there is no consistent pastor for a period of years. But I also understand that such instability is connected to the fact that there are many parishes and fewer priests. We as a community of parishes must likewise examine how we have supported and promoted vocations in our families. The Faith must not only be practiced, but also lived generously so that our young people may have an example, and be well-disposed to hear God’s call. Historically, there have been many vocations that have come out of our area. But in recent decades that has not been the case. What has changed? What is the Lord calling me (and/or my family) to do differently?