Last week at the Presbyteral Convocation, Bishop Sullivan in his closing remarks to the priests of the diocese, called for all of us to share our vocation stories at Masses next weekend. We are celebrating National Vocation Awareness Week beginning today. This observance, sponsored by the U.S. bishop’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, is a special time for all of us in the parishes throughout the country to foster a culture of vocations for the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life.
We are blessed to have a number of young men from our Wildwood Catholic High School who are open to the possibility that God may be calling them to a vocation to the priesthood. Bishop Sullivan has invited them to join me this Thursday to a dinner and prayer event he is sponsoring up in Woodbury. I think we may be coming with the largest number of young men from the diocese. It’s just another testimony to the investment for the future that our Catholic school system provides for the parish and wider Church community. Most vocations in the Church come from the fertile spiritual ground of the Catholic school system. Pray that God will nurture these possible vocations to the priesthood.
A friend of mine, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh North Carolina (originally from Philly!), chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, has said, “A culture of vocations is one that provides the necessary support for others to hear and respond to God’s call in their lives. With God’s grace, we help build that culture through fervent prayer, the witness of our lives and the encouragement we extend to those discerning a vocation to priesthood or consecrated life.”
Fr. Shawn McKnight, executive director of the bishop’s vocation committee said, “The number three seems to be critical in making a difference in the life of someone contemplating a vocation. When three or more people encourage someone to consider a religious vocation, he or she is far more likely to take serious steps toward answering that call.”
Please pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life! Pray especially for those young men who are entertaining the possibility of serving Christ as a priest from our own Wildwood Catholic High School and parish!