|St. Peter’s has always been a powerhouse of vocations in our diocese. With prayer and work, we can continue to provide priests and religious for service in the local Church of our diocese, and for service in the worldwide Church. We can, working together, strengthen the bonds of marriage for our lay people, and help many people desire to give themselves in service to the lay single life. We are all called to serve the Church in some way. Together, we can help each other find the particular gift to which God is calling each of us.|
Our Vocations Committee consists of lay and religious men and women. They are organizing efforts to call young men from our parish to the priesthood, and young women to the religious life. They are exploring ways to support those called to the vocation of marriage, and strengthening the voice that calls people to the lay single life. These four vocations, while different, compliment one another, and bind the Church together into a vibrant community of faith. If you would like to assist them in their work or have suggestions for them, contact Mary Wiseman who is Chair of the Vocations Committee.
Our Vocations Committee
Members are Vic Buechter, Ed Galbraith,
Mary Wiseman, Chair,
Jeanne Schnurr and Mark Rehagen.
Not present for the picture is Deacon Tom Whalen.
Additional information can also be found on the diocesan website http://www.discoverthepriesthood.org/
Additional information on Vocations.
Pope's Message for
World Day of Prayer for Vocations
"Vocations to the Priesthood and the Consecrated Life are Born Out of the Experience of a Personal Encounter with Christ"
VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Here is the translation of the Holy Father's Message on the occasion of the 50th World Day of Prayer for Vocations which will be held on April 21, 2013.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On the occasion of the 50th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, to be held on 21 April 2013, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, I want to invite you to reflect on the theme: "Vocations as a sign of hope founded in faith", which happily occurs during the Year of Faith, the year marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. While the Council was in session, the Servant of God, Paul VI, instituted this day of worldwide prayer to God the Father, asking him to continue to send workers for his Church (cf. Mt 9:38). "The problem of having a sufficient number of priests", as the Pope stated at the time, "has an immediate impact on all of the faithful: not simply because they depend on it for the religious future of Christian society, but also because this problem is the precise and inescapable indicator of the vitality of faith and love of individual parish and diocesan communities, and the evidence of the moral health of Christian families. Wherever numerous vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life are to be found, that is where people are living the Gospel with generosity" (Paul VI, Radio Message, 11 April 1964).
During the intervening decades, the various Christian communities all over the world have gathered each year on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, united in prayer, to ask from God the gift of holy vocations and to propose once again, for the reflection of all, the urgent need to respond to the divine call. Indeed, this significant annual event has fostered a strong commitment to placing the importance of vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life ever more at the centre of the spirituality, prayer and pastoral action of the faithful.
Hope is the expectation of something positive in the future, yet at the same time it must sustain our present existence, which is often marked by dissatisfaction and failures. On what is our hope founded? Looking at the history of the people of Israel, recounted in the Old Testament, we see one element that constantly emerges, especially in times of particular difficulty like the time of the Exile, an element found especially in the writings of the prophets, namely remembrance of God’s promises to the Patriarchs: a remembrance that invites us to imitate the exemplary attitude of Abraham, who, as Saint Paul reminds us, "believed, hoping against hope, that he would become ‘the father of many nations,’ according to what was said, ‘Thus shall your descendants be’" (Rom 4:18). One consoling and enlightening truth which emerges from the whole of salvation history, then, is God’s faithfulness to the covenant that he entered into, renewing it whenever man infringed it through infidelity and sin, from the time of the flood (cf. Gen 8:21-22) to that of the Exodus and the journey through the desert (cf. Dt 9:7). That same faithfulness led him to seal the new and eternal covenant with man, through the blood of his Son, who died and rose again for our salvation.
At every moment, especially the most difficult ones, the Lord’s faithfulness is always the authentic driving force of salvation history, which arouses the hearts of men and women and confirms them in the hope of one day reaching the "promised land". This is where we find the sure foundation of every hope: God never abandons us and he remains true to his word. For that reason, in every situation, whether positive or negative, we can nourish a firm hope and pray with the psalmist: "Only in God can my soul find rest; my hope comes from him" (Ps 62:6). To have hope, therefore, is the equivalent of trusting in God who is faithful, who keeps the promises of the covenant. Faith and hope, then, are closely related. "Hope" in fact is a key word in biblical faith, to the extent that in certain passages the words "faith" and "hope" seem to be interchangeable. In this way, the Letter to the Hebrews makes a direct connection between the "unwavering profession of hope" (10:23) and the "fullness of faith" (10:22). Similarly, when the First Letter of Saint Peter exhorts the Christians to be always ready to give an account of the "logos" – the meaning and rationale – of their hope (cf. 3:15), "hope" is the equivalent of "faith" (Spe Salvi, 2).
Dear Brothers and Sisters, what exactly is God’s faithfulness, to which we adhere with unwavering hope? It is his love!He, the Father, pours his love into our innermost self through the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom 5:5). And this love, fully manifested in Jesus Christ, engages with our existence and demands a response in terms of what each individual wants to do with his or her life, and what he or she is prepared to offer in order to live it to the full. The love of God sometimes follows paths one could never have imagined, but it always reaches those who are willing to be found. Hope is nourished, then, by this certainty: "We ourselves have known and believed in the love that God has for us" (1 Jn 4:16). This deep, demanding love, which penetrates well below the surface, gives us courage; it gives us hope in our life’s journey and in our future; it makes us trust in ourselves, in history and in other people. I want to speak particularly to the young and I say to you once again: "What would your life be without this love? God takes care of men and women from creation to the end of time, when he will bring his plan of salvation to completion. In the Risen Lord we have the certainty of our hope!" (Address to Young People of the Diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro, 19 June 2011).
Just as he did during his earthly existence, so today the risen Jesus walks along the streets of our life and sees us immersed in our activities, with all our desires and our needs. In the midst of our everyday circumstances he continues to speak to us; he calls us to live our life with him, for only he is capable of satisfying our thirst for hope. He lives now among the community of disciples that is the Church, and still today calls people to follow him. The call can come at any moment. Today too, Jesus continues to say, "Come, follow me" (Mk 10:21). Accepting his invitation means no longer choosing our own path. Following him means immersing our own will in the will of Jesus, truly giving him priority, giving him pride of place in every area of our lives: in the family, at work, in our personal interests, in ourselves. It means handing over our very lives to Him, living in profound intimacy with Him, entering through Him into communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit, and consequently with our brothers and sisters. This communion of life with Jesus is the privileged "setting" in which we can experience hope and in which life will be full and free.
Vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life are born out of the experience of a personal encounter with Christ, out of sincere and confident dialogue with him, so as to enter into his will. It is necessary, therefore, to grow in the experience of faith, understood as a profound relationship with Jesus, as inner attentiveness to his voice which is heard deep within us. This process, which enables us to respond positively to God’s call, is possible in Christian communities where the faith is lived intensely, where generous witness is given of adherence to the Gospel, where there is a strong sense of mission which leads people to make the total gift of self for the Kingdom of God, nourished by recourse to the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and by a fervent life of prayer. This latter "must on the one hand be something very personal, an encounter between my intimate self and God, the living God. On the other hand it must be constantly guided and enlightened by the great prayers of the Church and of the saints, by liturgical prayer, in which the Lord teaches us again and again how to pray properly." (Spe Salvi, 34).
Deep and constant prayer brings about growth in the faith of the Christian community, in the unceasingly renewed certainty that God never abandons his people and that he sustains them by raising up particular vocations – to the priesthood and the consecrated life – so that they can be signs of hope for the world. Indeed, priests and religious are called to give themselves unconditionally to the People of God, in a service of love for the Gospel and the Church, serving that firm hope which can only come from an openness to the divine. By means of the witness of their faith and apostolic zeal, therefore, they can transmit, especially to the younger generations, a strong desire to respond generously and promptly to Christ who calls them to follow him more closely. Whenever a disciple of Jesus accepts the divine call to dedicate himself to the priestly ministry or to the consecrated life, we witness one of the most mature fruits of the Christian community, which helps us to look with particular trust and hope to the future of the Church and to her commitment to evangelization. This constantly requires new workers to preach the Gospel, to celebrate the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. So let there be committed priests, who know how to accompany young people as "companions on the journey", helping them, on life’s often tortuous and difficult path, to recognize Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life (cf. Jn 14:6), telling them, with Gospel courage, how beautiful it is to serve God, the Christian community, one’s brothers and sisters. Let there be priests who manifest the fruitfulness of an enthusiastic commitment, which gives a sense of completeness to their lives, because it is founded on faith in him who loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:19). Equally, I hope that young people, who are presented with so many superficial and ephemeral options, will be able to cultivate a desire for what is truly worthy, for lofty objectives, radical choices, service to others in imitation of Jesus. Dear young people, do not be afraid to follow him and to walk the demanding and courageous paths of charity and generous commitment! In that way you will be happy to serve, you will be witnesses of a joy that the world cannot give, you will be living flames of an infinite and eternal love, you will learn to "give an account of the hope that is within you" (1 Pt 3:15)!
| PAPAL MESSAGE: |
PROPOSING VOCATIONS IN THE LOCAL CHURCH
VATICAN CITY, 10 FEB 2011 (VIS) - "Proposing Vocations in the Local Church" is the theme of the Pope's Message for the forth-eighth World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which is to be celebrated on 15 May, fourth Sunday of Easter. Ample extracts of the English-language version of the document are given below:
"The work of carefully encouraging and supporting vocations finds a radiant source of inspiration in those places in the Gospel where Jesus calls His disciples to follow Him and trains them with love and care. ... Before calling them, Jesus spent the night alone in prayer, listening to the will of the Father. ... Vocations to the ministerial priesthood and to the consecrated life are first and foremost the fruit of constant contact with the living God and insistent prayer lifted up to the 'Lord of the harvest', whether in parish communities, in Christian families or in groups specifically devoted to prayer for vocations.
"At the beginning of His public life, the Lord called some fishermen on the shore of the Sea of Galilee: 'Follow me and I will make you fishers of men'. ... It is a challenging and uplifting invitation that Jesus addresses to those to Whom He says: 'Follow me!'. He invites them to become His friends, to listen attentively to His word and to live with Him. He teaches them complete commitment to God and to the extension of His kingdom in accordance with the law of the Gospel. ... He invites them to leave behind their own narrow agenda and their notions of self-fulfilment in order to immerse themselves in another will, the will of God, and to be guided by it. He gives them an experience of fraternity, one born of that total openness to God which becomes the hallmark of the community of Jesus".
"It is no less challenging to follow Christ today. It means learning to keep our gaze fixed on Jesus, growing close to Him, listening to His word and encountering Him in the Sacraments; it means learning to conform our will to His. This requires a genuine school of formation for all those who would prepare themselves for the ministerial priesthood or the consecrated life under the guidance of the competent ecclesial authorities. The Lord does not fail to call people at every stage of life to share in His mission and to serve the Church in the ordained ministry and in the consecrated life".
"Particularly in these times, when the voice of the Lord seems to be drowned out by 'other voices' and His invitation to follow Him by the gift of one's own life may seem too difficult, every Christian community, every member of the Church, needs consciously to feel responsibility for promoting vocations. It is important to encourage and support those who show clear signs of a call to priestly life and religious consecration, and to enable them to feel the warmth of the whole community as they respond 'yes' to God and the Church. I encourage them, in the same words which I addressed to those who have already chosen to enter the seminary".
"It is essential that every local Church become more sensitive and attentive to the pastoral care of vocations, helping children and young people in particular at every level of family, parish and associations - as Jesus did with His disciples - to grow into a genuine and affectionate friendship with the Lord, cultivated through personal and liturgical prayer; to grow in familiarity with the sacred Scriptures and thus to listen attentively and fruitfully to the word of God; to understand that entering into God's will does not crush or destroy a person, but instead leads to the discovery of the deepest truth about ourselves; and finally to be generous and fraternal in relationships with others, since it is only in being open to the love of God that we discover true joy and the fulfilment of our aspirations".
"I address a particular word to you, my dear brother bishops. ... The Lord needs you to co-operate with Him in ensuring that His call reaches the hearts of those whom He has chosen. Choose carefully those who work in the diocesan vocations office. ... Your openness to the needs of dioceses experiencing a dearth of vocations will become a blessing from God for your communities and a sign to the faithful of a priestly service that generously considers the needs of the entire Church".
"I turn to those who can offer a specific contribution to the pastoral care of vocations: to priests, families, catechists and leaders of parish groups. I ask priests to testify to their communion with their bishop and their fellow priests, and thus to provide a rich soil for the seeds of a priestly vocation. May families be 'animated by the spirit of faith and love and by the sense of duty' which is capable of helping children to welcome generously the call to priesthood and to religious life. May catechists and leaders of Catholic groups and ecclesial movements, convinced of their educational mission, seek to 'guide the young people entrusted to them so that these will recognise and freely accept a divine vocation'.
"Dear brothers and sisters, your commitment to the promotion and care of vocations becomes most significant and pastorally effective when carried out in the unity of the Church and in the service of communion".
"The ability to foster vocations is a hallmark of the vitality of a local Church. With trust and perseverance let us invoke the aid of the Virgin Mary, that by the example of her own acceptance of God's saving plan and her powerful intercession, every community will be more and more open to saying 'yes' to the Lord Who is constantly calling new labourers to His harvest".
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|CONSECRATED LIFE: LIGHT, PROPHECY, WISDOM OF THE CHURCH
VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2011 (VIS) - Yesterday, Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the Day of Consecrated Life, the Holy Father presided at second Vespers in the Vatican Basilica.
"The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple", he said, "is an eloquent symbol of complete donation of life, for all those men and women who are called to reproduce, in the Church and the world, via the evangelical counsels, the characteristic features of Jesus: chastity, poverty and obedience. It is for this reason that today's feast was chosen by the Venerable John Paul II to celebrate the annual Day of Consecrated Life".
Benedict XVI then went on to propose three themes for reflection on this feast day: "Firstly", he said, the evangelical image of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple contains the fundamental symbol of light; the light which, irradiating from Christ, shone on Mary and Joseph, on Simeon and Anna and, through them, on everyone. The Church Fathers associated this shining light with the spiritual journey. Consecrated life is an expression of this journey, especially in ... love for divine beauty, reflection of the goodness of God".
"Secondly", he continued, "the evangelical image is an expression of prophecy, gift of the Holy Spirit. Simeon and Anna, contemplating the Baby Jesus, foresee His destiny of death and resurrection for the salvation of all mankind, and they announce this mystery as universal salvation. Consecrated life, with its dual aspect of contemplation and activity, is called to offer such prophetic witness. Consecrated men and women are in fact given the chance to express primacy of God and passion for the Gospel, practiced in life and announced to the poor and to the weakest of the earth".
Finally, the Presentation also "expresses the wisdom of Simeon and Anna, the wisdom of a life totally dedicated to seeking the face of God, His signs and His will; a life dedicated to listening to and announcing His Word".
The Pope then went on to encourage consecrated men and women "to listen assiduously to the Word, because all of life's wisdom arises from the Word of the Lord. ... The Holy Spirit, in Whom the Bible was written, is the same Spirit Who illumines the Word of God with new light for the founders and foundresses. Every charism and every rule springs from it and seeks to be an expression of it, thus opening up new pathways of Christian living marked by the radicalism of the Gospel.
"The situation in which we live today, especially in the more developed societies, is often marked by a radical plurality, by a progressive marginalisation of religion from the public sphere, by a relativism which extends to fundamental values", the Holy Father added. "This means that our Christian witness must always be luminous and coherent and our educational efforts attentive and generous". And he concluded by exhorting the religious: "With the wisdom of your lives and faith in the infinite possibilities of true education, guide the minds and hearts of the men and women of our time towards 'the good life in the Gospel'".
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PRIESTS MUST LIVE FOR CHRIST AND FOR OTHERS
VATICAN CITY, MAY 7, 2006 (VIS) - Today, the fourth Sunday of Easter and the 43rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations, the Pope presided at a Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica, conferring priestly ordination on 13 deacons of the diocese of Rome and on two religious of the Order of Discalced Carmelites.
In his homily, the Pope referred to the figure of Christ the Good Shepherd, Who gives His life for His flock, humankind, Who recognizes them and is recognized by them, and Who remains at the service of unity.
The priestly spirit, said Pope Benedict, is opposed to "careerism, the attempt to arrive 'high up,' to seek out a position through the Church, serve oneself and not serve others. This is the image of a man who, through the priesthood, seeks to become important and famous." Yet, he added, "the only legitimate ascent towards the ministry of the shepherd is the cross. That is the door."
To be a priest, the Pope affirmed, is not "to desire to be someone important, ... but to live for others, for Christ, and through Him and with Him to live for the men and women He seeks, whom He wants to lead along the path of life.
"We enter the priesthood through a Sacrament," said the Holy Father, "and this means through the total donation of self to Christ, so that He may use me as He wishes, so that I serve Him and follow His call even when this contrasts with my own desires for self-fulfillment and respect. To enter by the door, which is Christ, means knowing Him and loving Him ever more deeply, that our will may unite with His and our action become one with His action."
The Pope highlighted the importance for priests of "the daily Eucharist," which "must become a school of life for us, one in which we learn to donate our lives."
He also underlined the importance of "a practical and concrete knowledge of the people entrusted to us. ... The pastor cannot be content with remembering names and dates, his knowledge must also be a knowledge of the heart. This, however, is only fully possible if the Lord has opened our own hearts."
Benedict XVI concluded by emphasizing how priests "must concern themselves with everyone," especially "those who believe and live with the Church," but also with "bringing God's invitation to His banquet to those men and women who have still not heard of it."
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POPE PROPOSES NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS IN U.S.VATICAN CITY, NOV 26, 2004 (VIS) - As they end their "ad limina" visit, bishops from the ecclesiastical provinces of Dubuque, Kansas City in Kansas, Omaha and St. Louis, were received by the Pope this morning who continued his reflections on the exercise of episcopal governance, especially "the relationship which unites you to your closest co-workers in the apostolate, your brother priests."
He underscored that the fellowship uniting bishops and their priests comes from "the grace of Holy Orders and the one mission entrusted by the Risen Lord to the Apostles and their successors in the Church."
"Together with fostering mutual trust and confidence, dialogue, a spirit of unity and a common missionary spirit in his relationship with his priests," added the Holy Father, "the bishop is also responsible for cultivating within the presbyterate a sense of co-responsibility for the governance of the local Church" which "demands a sound ecclesiological vision. ... A fundamental goal of your governance should be that of encouraging and coordinating the pastoral work carried out in the great network of parishes and related institutions which make up the local Church. The parish, in fact, is 'pre-eminent among all the other communities in the diocese'."
John Paul II stated that renewal of ecclesial life "should rightly begin with the revitalization of the parish community, centered ... on preaching the Gospel and celebration of the Eucharist. The Bishop is to play an indispensable role in this revitalization by authoritatively promoting the Church's teaching and proposing a unified pastoral plan capable of inspiring and directing the apostolate of clergy and laity alike." He said that "the entire Christian community needs to be encouraged to move from 'Mass to mission', in the pursuit of holiness and the service of the new evangelization."
"An essential concern of responsible governance must also be to provide for the future," affirmed the Holy Father. "No one can deny that the decline in priestly vocations represents a stark challenge for the Church in the United States, and one that cannot be ignored or put off. The response to this challenge must be insistent prayer according to the Lord's command. ... I would propose for your consideration that the Catholic community in your country annually set aside a national day of prayer for priestly vocations."
Concern for the future, said the Pope in concluding remarks,, also involves "attention to seminary training, ... a commitment to holiness and spiritual wisdom, formation in prudent leadership and selfless dedication to the flock" and "a sound continuing education for the clergy."
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POPE JOHN PAUL II ON VOCATIONS
The Holy Father then spoke about the vocations of young people and affirmed that among the many difficulties that they encounter to respond to the call three stand out. The first is the fear of a lifelong commitment in a world in which instantaneous satisfaction is the norm. It is certainly an obstacle that can be overcome only by giving them confidence in a perspective rooted in Christian hope.
The second difficulty concerns the proposition itself of the priestly ministry, often devalued by public opinion and whose perimeters are blurred, often difficult for young people to identity. Therefore, you must support the ordained ministry, giving it the place that corresponds to it in the Church in a spirit of communion that respects differences and not in a spirit of prejudicial competition with the laity. The third difficulty concerns the relationship of young people with the Lord. Their knowledge of Christ is often superficial and relative. It is clear that everything that can promote an authentic discovery of the person of Jesus and a relationship with Him will be beneficial in order to stir up vocations.
Be vigilant, he concluded, so that the different specialized services that contribute to your close collaboration in nourishing diocesan life, the pastoral care of families and young people, catechesis, may be generously open to the vocational perspective.
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KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS
bless Your Church with an abundance
of holy and zealous priests, deacons, brothers and sisters.
Give those You have called
to the married state and those
You have chosen to live as single persons in the world,
the special graces that their lives require.
Form us all in the likeness of your Son
so that in Him, with Him and through Him
we may love You more deeply and serve You
more faithfully, always and everywhere.
With Mary we ask this through Christ our Lord.
Vocations Committee of the
Knights of Columbus
Parent's Prayer for Vocations
Almighty and eternal God,
in your unfailing love
you provide ministers for your Church.
We pray for those whom you call
to serve our Church as priests.
Inspire in them a generous response.
Grant them courage and vision
to serve your people.
May their lives and service call
your people to respond to the presence
of your Spirit among us
that, faithful to the gospel and
hope of Jesus the Christ,
announce glad tidings to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives;
set prisoners free
and renew the face of the earth.
Creator of the Universe,
God of the Nations,
Your people are longing to hear your word.
Send laborers into your harvest.
Women and me on fire with your love.
Dedicated single people
who incarnate your presence
in their daily lives,
whose availability enables them
to respond to a diversity of needs.
whose relationships serve as a sign
of your fidelity to your people,
whose love overflows
to their children and neighbors.
who gather the prayers and longing
of your people
who serve as a channel of your presence
through the sacraments.
Religious sisters, brothers and priests,
whose life in community foreshadows
our eternal unity in Christ,
whose service brings your life to the world.
May each of us respond with courage and generosity
to our particular vocations,
and may the Church recognize
the Spirit's call to men and women of good will,
trusting in your abundance to answer all our needs.
God, our Father,
in Baptism You called us by name
making us members of Your people,
We praise You for Your goodness,
We thank You for Your gifts.
We ask You to strengthen us
to live in love and service to others
after the example of Your Son, Jesus.
Father, look upon Your Church with love
and bless Your people
with generous single men and women,
with loving husbands and wives,
with understanding parents,
with trusting children
with dedicated priests, sisters,
deacons and brothers.
Help us to see our vocations
as a journey toward You.
You have called us,
not to set us apart,
but to bring us together
with others who need our love.
Make us faithful signs of Your
presence in their midst.
We ask You through Christ, our Lord,