Vocations to the priesthood and religious life are everyone’s business - especially on January 9, 2012 as Vocation’s Awareness Week is recognized across the country.
Each Catholic bears the responsibility to foster more vocations to the priesthood and religious life in the church by encouraging their own children as well as their granddaughters and grandsons, nieces and nephews, students and altar servers to consider the vocation of priesthood or consecrated life. Starting Sunday, the Catholic Church in America through prayer, celebrations and even television commercials will share the message that the church needs more people in the pews to encourage, support and pray for vocations.
Christ has not stopped calling young men to follow him as priests but too many young men cannot hear that call over the noise and distractions of our consumerist secular culture. Pope Benedict XVI has said: “The mission of the priest in the church cannot be substituted. Therefore, even if in some regions there is a sacristy of clergy, it should never be doubted that Christ continues to raise up men who, like the Apostles, leaving behind all other work dedicate themselves completely to the celebration of the sacred mysteries, to the preaching of the Gospel and to the pastoral ministry.”
There is certainly great need of more vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life and one of the foundations of fostering these vocations must be prayer. We recall the words of Jesus: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Mt, 9:37). Christ has enjoined each of us to take up the cause of providing more laborers for his harvest. We must first begin with prayer and offer daily prayers for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life. A firm commitment to prayer on behalf of priestly and religious vocations is the first step in getting the call through to those who need to hear it most: young Catholics. We call upon all Catholics to pick up the mantle of prayer for priestly and religious vocations for the church especially for the church of Providence. Let us join with the Holy Father in praying: “O Father, raise up among us Christians numerous and holy vocations to the priesthood, to keep the faith alive.” Keep the faith alive, pray for vocations!