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Sunday, April 29, 2007
44th World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Today is the 44th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, and Pope Benedict XVI's message for today is available on the Vatican's website. For me, this is day especially important since I am now an official Roman Catholic Seminarian. Over the past year, I have heard the call of the Lord to leave the offerings of the world and follow after the things of eternity. It is no secret that Holy Catholic Church needs vocations. According to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the number of religious sisters at the end of 2006 was 55,500 and the average age was 70 with 73% being 65 and older. But, as in most areas, quality is better than quantity even in vocations.

The Church does not need thousands of women entering religious life, who refuse to practice celibacy or who refuse to wear the traditional habit as an expression of faith. As I stated in my post Nuns Should Wear the Habit, traditional orders are growing, liberal and modernistic ones are thankfully dying away. So, let us pray to Our Lord and God for a greater amount of holy, reverent women to enter religious life and become brides of Christ. In my post Nuns Should Wear the Habit, I listed several religious orders that are faithful and holy, which have not fallen into the grasp of modernism. These holy order are following the requirement set forth in the current Code of Canon Law: "Religious are to wear the habit of the institute determined according to the norm of proper law as a sign of their consecration and as a testimony of poverty" (Canon 669, 1).

Similarly, the Church needs vocations of holy, reverent men to the priesthood as well as the religious life as monks. Speaking as a Roman Catholic Seminarian, men who promote heresy or heterodox ideas - including the need to ordain women, the need to allow homosexuals to be ordained, and the need to abandon priestly celibacy - are not the answer to the Church's prayers. The Church needs holy men who feel called to rise up in the midst of the world in order to defend the Real Presence, defend Marian doctrine, encourage weekly Confession, and promote Traditional practices including women's veils, altar rails, and the Tridentine Mass. As Fr. Pat Stratford stated in his article "Why the Church must continue to uphold priestly celibacy", priestly celibacy must be retained in the Catholic Church, and the Church does not need another modern priest attack this Church doctrine. People who promote the ordination of women remain oppose to the firm teachings of the Church in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, and they only perform great dishonor to Christ and His Church.

If you have not previously read it, I strongly suggest reading my article The Priestly Vocation today where I share a beautiful metaphor pertaining to the vocation to the priesthood. As I reflect upon this past year and read through my own vocation story, I thank God for how far I have journeyed. In this past year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) finally published a 98-page Program of Priestly Formation document (.pdf), the fifth of its kind, which thankfully states, "A candidate must be prepared to accept wholeheartedly the Church's teaching on sexuality in its entirety."

Let us remember to fast, prayer, and give alms not just in Lent but year round. By practicing such virtues and living in the state of grace, we can hear the words of Christ: “Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men!” (Mk 1: 17; cf. Mt 4: 19). I heard the calling of Christ to serve the people of God and offer the Mass and the Sacraments. Edward at To Jesus Through Mary has also heard the call of Christ and been recently accepted to the seminary. Just a few days ago, a friend of DilexitPrior, the blogger at Letters from a Young Catholic, entered the Poor Clares. Also, the blogger at Casting out into the deep, in a JPII sort of way… recently paid off her debts and will soon enter a convent of the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco.

The Church is very much alive and vocations are sprouting! Let us continue to pray for holy, reverent men and women to answer the call of Christ. Let us also pray for the conversion of those who promote heresy, heterodox ideas, or have not remained faithful to their vows. And let us pray for the growth of traditional religious orders.

Prayer for Vocations:

O Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of the Church, To You We Commend our Young People, In Particular Those Called to Closely Follow Your Son. You Know the difficulties, the Struggles, the Obstacles They Must Face. Assist Them to Answer "YES!" to the Divine Call, As You Did at the Invitation of the Angel. Draw them near to your heart So that They Can Understand the Beauty and the Joy that Awaits Them When the Lord Jesus Calls Them Into His Intimacy, To Be Witness of His Love in the World.

Prayer for Priestly Vocations:

O Lord, God of power and majesty, you said that the harvest is great but the laborers are few. Send forth, we beseech thee, laborers into your vineyard to forgive sins, celebrate the Eucharist, baptize, and above all make us a people worthy of thee. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

Parent's Prayer for Vocations:

Dear Heavenly Father, You Have Blessed Us With Children. We Sometimes Forget that They are Not Ours, But Yours, And that You Have Asked Us to Bring Them Up in Your Ways. 0 Gracious and Loving God, We Pray that Our Children Will Discover And Respond Enthusiastically To Your Desire for Them Whether It Be to the Vocation of Consecrated Religious or Single, Sacramental Marriage, or Ordained Life. Please Help Our Children To Have Open Hearts and Minds to Your Call. Help Us to Support and Encourage Our Children To Seek Your will in Choosing a Vocation. We Offer this Prayer in the Name of Jesus through the Power and Grace of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Photo #1 Source: Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation


del_button April 29, 2007 at 4:57 AM
Marie Cecile said...

Congratulations on your upcoming entrance into the Seminary. Your "YES" to the call is a delight to our Lord. And I thank you for sharing with us your journey. God bless you!

del_button April 29, 2007 at 10:25 PM
Anonymous said...

Whoa man, where did you get your definition of heresy?

You said that homosexuals in the priesthood, priestly celibacy, and women as clergy are heretical when that would be incorrect.

First off, if Priests aren't supposed to be having sex anyway what does their sexual orientation matter? Can they not devote their lives to the service of God? Or is the Church a homophobic institution that seeks to bar everyone except those who fit the modern-day societal construct of heterosexuality. The Bible - and the Church - condemn homsexual acts, not those with a homosexual orientation. But it also condemns heterosexual adultery. So maybe only Eunuchs should be allowed? Oh, wait, based on precedent we can't even do that - Origen the early Christian theologian castrated himself and was therefore bared from the priesthood. Talk about mixed messages!

But, I've digressed...

My main point is all those "heresies" that you named go against DOCTRINE when heresy may only against DOGMA.

And, unless you are a heretical Donatist (Church Dogma: sacraments given by a sinful priest are still legitimate... you know Spiritual Authority and all that jazz), sacraments given by a homsexual priest or a heterosexual priest are still legitimate.

Remember Dogma is stuff like three gods in one, Mary is the theotokos, etc.

I like your defense of my faith, but please get the definitions of the buzz words right before you start brandishing them.

del_button May 1, 2007 at 8:36 AM
Kat said...

Saying men with homosexual tendencies shouldn't be priests is like saying men with blue eyes shouldn't be priests.

Celebicy and chastity are the key with this issue. If a man is Gay, but remains chaste all his days, that does not mean that simply because he is Gay he is unworthy of the kingdom or that it is beyond the nature of God to call him to Orders.

del_button May 1, 2007 at 12:53 PM
Seminarian Matthew said...

I suggest you read the 98-page Program of Priestly Formation document.

del_button May 1, 2007 at 9:42 PM
Nârwen said...

I wish you well, and pray that your time at seminary will bear much spiritual fruit.
As to priests (or would-be priests) with homosexual inclinations- wouldn't it be cruel to put such a man in a position where he is constantly being tempted- like living in a rectory with another priest ? As a straight woman, I know I would not want to live in a house with a man who is not my husband....

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