A week ago, Fr. Ryan and I spent three days at the annual Clergy Congress for pastors, administrators, and pastoral leaders. The focus of this event was largely on vocations to the priesthood. The speaker was superb. Following a little reflection on those days, I am stirred to share some of my feelings.
First, the goal of Bishop Ricken and our Diocese of Green Bay is to have 30 young men in priestly formation (seminarians) every year by 2025. Currently, we have ten men in seminaries and another seven who are in what is called the Kairos year – a year of discernment to determine if God is indeed calling them to the seminary. I have brought back from the meeting new prayer cards, listing the men in formation/discernment and I ask you if you are willing, to take one and pray each day for the intention of that day of the month. This is a very simple task and will take you a minute or so each day to fulfill.
Second, I am convinced there are young men here at Prince of Peace being called to the priesthood, and furthermore, young women being called to the religious life. Here is where each of us – especially me – can help! We all need to see the traits in a young person that may be leading them to the priesthood or religious life. If so, we need to necessarily tell them! This is a difficult task, but the more they hear that message, the more God will work on them IF this is their vocation.
Finally, I say this. As a parent of two boys (now men), I realize it can be difficult to actually pray for them to be priests someday. After all, that would mean less or no grandchildren, and most of us would love to have grand-children. I love them! But when you had your child(ren) baptized, the first goal for you as a parent from that day forward is to get them to Heaven. If they accomplish great worldly things but do not get to Heaven, as parents, we have failed them – and God.
Please consider praying for vocations daily by taking one of the cards. And please pray God calls young people from this parish - maybe even your son or daughter to the priesthood or religious life!
- Deacon Jeff