This Sunday we celebrate World Day of Prayer for Vocations. What can I individually and our diocese collectively do to answer the call of the Church to pray for and promote vocations? This year through the inspiration of Bishop Peter Libasci, St. Mary Parish will be instituting a parish vocation ministry program. This is designed to bring awareness to the need to forming vocations for the priesthood, consecrated religious life and also marriage. It has long been recognized that there is a need to go back to our roots as Catholics to promote the idea of vocations from an early age and to nurture and support the development of vocations throughout our lives. As Pope Francis stated in his first homily, “We are the church, the bride of Christ. We bear witness to Christ, that he is alive, he is risen.” We do not belong to an ancient cult that is mired in the dust of antiquity. We are part of a dynamic, living gift from God called the Catholic Church. Jesus is present and is alive here today in all of us and in his church. He is calling each and every one of us to become the person that he wants us to be, that he has predestined us to be as an integral member of his church. This newly formed vocation ministry will have many facets to it, and you will be exposed to new ideas and certainly some new challenges that hopefully will bring you closer to Christ. Through this formation of the vocation ministry, we hope to strengthen marriages and also create a rich, loving environment for the open reception of vocations to serve our church and more importantly our Lord. The first step that we all must take on this journey is to pray because as St. Luke has told us, “ The Lord calls his followers to ask for vocations, and prayer opens the heart of individuals to God's calling, even those who have not yet responded.”
In the back of the church we are beginning a “vocations corner” where material will be readily available to help aid prayer for vocations as well as marketing information on vocation-based events on the diocesan and parish level. Please take a moment and stop by!