In just over a month from today, the nation will once again celebrate a week dedicated to the prayer for vocations. This is a week when we remember the need of our local church for more seminarians, priests and religious, but it is also a week when we remember that God has created each of us for a definite purpose. While we want to pray for more priests and religious, we need to be open to the calling that God has placed on each of our hearts as well. Have you been created to give yourself entirely to one person for the rest of your life and through that marriage bring forth new life and lead them with you to heaven? Have you been created to give yourself entirely to all the people in a local church at the service of the Gospel and to stand in the place of Christ in the most important moment in the lives of your parishioners? Have you been created to love God above all and to be a bride of Christ, being a witness of the marital union we can all hope to attain one day in heaven? Have you been created to witness to the love of Christ in the world as a single person who is entirely satisfied by the love Christ offers you? Each of these paths are a unique calling and each one of us has been created to follow one of these paths in our own unique way, giving all our gifts and talents to the service of God in the way he has created us to use them!
That is what Vocation Awareness Week is about and that is why we are so excited to celebrate in many ways once again this year:
– Vocation Lesson plans have already been sent out to schools and parishes across the Archdiocese. These lesson plans are for all students in grades kindergarten through high school and also have lessons to share in a youth ministry setting. To access these plans simply go to www.vocationlessons.com and type in the access code CinciVocations513.
– The entire Archdiocese will have the opportunity to join with Catholics from across the entire state of Ohio in Eucharistic Adoration during a Statewide Evening of Adoration on Wednesday, November 4th. All parishes are invited to open their doors for this special evening, but more details along with a list of parishes who have already told the Vocation Office of their participation will be published soon. If your parish would like to join that list, please contact Wayne Topp at email@example.com.
– The Serra Club of Cincinnati will be praying through the entire Bible in a Nine-Day Bible Reading Novena starting on November 2nd. At the beginning of each book they will dedicate their reading to an increase of religious vocations in the Archdiocese and will pray together the Archdiocesan Prayer for Vocations written by Archbishop Schnurr. All able readers are encouraged to get involved by visiting www.fiveminutechurch.net and clicking on the Sign Up Genius link.
This coming Saturday, September 5th is the first ever Defeat Hunger 5K obstacle run being sponsored by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Catholic Schools office. In response to Pope Francis’ call to end world hunger by 2025, the Archdiocese has initiated a campaign to provide Food for All by collecting 1,000,000 food donations throughout this school year. This race is just one piece of that campaign and it is the goal to collect 5000 in this one day.
Seminarians for the Archdiocese have stepped up to that call! Nine of our seminarians will be participating in the Defeat Hunger 5K this Saturday and all of them will be in the 11:00 wave of the race! In addition to running to end hunger, they also will be representing the Run for the Call cause. Run for the Call is an initiative to spread the message that every single one of us is called by God to fulfill a definite purpose. Many of those being called are being called to offer their lives entirely to one person in the sacrament of holy matrimony, but some are called to offer their lives entirely to the Church in the consecrated religious life or to the priesthood.
Look for the bright, golden-colored shirts on race day and be reminded of your call! Don’t be afraid to chase after it! (And don’t be afraid to pass up some of the seminarians in the process.)
Last night at the Maria Stein Relic Shrine in Maria Stein, OH, lay men and women of the Sidney/St. Mary’s Serra Club gathered together to venerate a relic of a relatively unknown priest in California who was one of the most influential Franciscan missionaries of the United States. Father Junipero Serra worked to establish 9 different missions across what is today known as California and walked on foot, despite a chronically diseased leg, thousands of miles to attend to each of these new missions. He was a powerful witness of the gospel and was revered for his great fortitude and zeal for evangelization. Without a doubt, he was a man worth emulating.
In less than a month, Pope Francis will give us another reason to look more closely at this man’s life as he canonizes him on American soil at the papal mass on September 23, 2015! He will become the first saint to be canonized in the United States and the Serra Club who claimed him as their patron more than 60 years ago is ready to celebrate!
On Wednesday, afternoon, September 23rd at 3:30, all are invited to join the Serra Club of Cincinnati at Ruah Woods for a Canonization viewing party. They will provide drinks and food at no cost and they will live stream the Mass from EWTN in the New Evangelization Center. The celebration will last until 7:00 and all are encouraged to stop in for any and all of the festivities. The evening will conclude with an opportunity to pray for the intercession of the newly canonized saint!
To ensure there is enough food participants are encouraged (but not required) to contact Wayne Topp at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A picture like this, thankfully, doesn’t require much explanation. For the first time since 1982, Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West is now home to 68 seminarians (37 for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati)! This puts the seminary at full capacity! Get the rest of the details here: http://www.athenaeum.edu/News.aspx?ID=737.
In just over a week, on August 24th, the seminarians at Mount St. Mary’s of the West here in Cincinnati will begin another year of seminary formation and instruction as they discern God’s call to the Catholic priesthood. Along with nearly all of the men who were in formation at the end of last school year, 9 new men will be joining the major seminary as seminarians for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati! Additionally, four more men will be entering formation at either Bishop Simon Brute Seminary in Indianapolis or the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus. That means that for the first time in the many years the Archdiocese of Cincinnati will be seeing 13 new seminarians!
We thank all the faithful of this Archdiocese who have steadfastly prayed for more men to respond to God’s call to the priesthood and we praise God for hearing and answering those prayers in his time and according to His great plan. May we continue to beg the harvest master for more laborers for the harvest.
As the school year draws near, however, we encourage all to pray even harder for all the men in formation as the temptation to not return or to enter the doors for the first time is often a great spiritual struggle. May the Lord’s passion and commitment to those the Father place in his care be ever on the minds of these men and may the Holy Spirit rekindle in them the fire of His love.
It’s a common phrase that we use to comfort those we love: “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” (Even Mother Teresa has been quoted as saying this along with a great punchline.) Undoubtedly, this can provide a sense of comfort and a sense of hope. Maybe it even gives us a sense of courage at the thought that, if God has put me in this situation (or has allowed me to get into it), He believes I can get out of it. The problem with that is when it is used, most often it is in denial of the reality of God and the power of God.
I was at a training all week last week and one of the presenters opened my eyes to something really pretty obvious. The truth is that God gives us more than we can handle all the time! He is in the habit of giving us more than we can handle by ourselves. In fact, without God we could do absolutely nothing successfully on our own! He is the source of all our power, all our courage, all our patience, all our kindness, all our talents, and most of all, all our love.
Since the beginning of school is just around the corner, let me give you an example of a time in my life when God had given me too much. I was in my freshman year of college seminary studies and it was the first time I had lived away from home and it was also the first time I had to write any research papers of any length. Within my first week of classes I learned that by the end of the semester I would have to write about 6 different research papers totaling about 50 pages (many of which were in the foreign areas of Philosophy and Spiritual masters). Have you ever read philosophy or tried to dive into the teachings of Catholic spiritual masters? Not exactly light reading for a college freshman (well, at least not this one). In addition to that, I was being introduced to daily communal prayer three times a day, regular weekly meetings and spiritual conferences and this whole new concept of spiritual direction and meeting with a formation advisor. Add to that the noise and activity of dorm life and, for a young boy from rural Midwest Ohio, I was overwhelmed. I found myself completely stressed and paralyzed with fear not knowing where even to take the first step. Finally, I broke down in front of a friend of mine and, being a guy, he said, “What’s wrong with you?” and he then proceeded to give me practical advice.
“Take one thing at a time,” he said, “and don’t be afraid of the big picture. Pray and take it one day at a time and somehow, someway, it will all get done.” I didn’t believe him at the time, but by the end of the semester, and after several all-nighters, every single paper was satisfactorily completed, I passed all my exams and I had a great sense of accomplishment at all the work I had done.
What a fool I was! The work I completed had almost nothing to do with my brilliant mind and late night coffee runs. It had everything to do with the prayer with which I fed my life. Thankfully, in the seminary, I couldn’t help but become connected to Christ and begin and end my day in prayer (it was part of the daily schedule), and it has taken me until hearing the words of that presenter this week to realize just how powerful that beginning and ending had been. God had given me way more than I could handle on my own, and he does it still, but I have found that when I try to muscle through it, the ride is rough and crooked, but when I take on the yolk of Christ, the burden (yes, there is still a burden), is truly light and the road is smooth and straight.
Let us stop using the phrase, “God never gives you more than you can handle” and instead, let’s start witnessing to the greater truth: “God wants to be IN every struggle YOU can’t handle; let Him help you through it.”
The Vocation Office is proud to present a brand new video on life in college seminary! This video features many of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati seminarians who are discerning their call to the priesthood in college seminary at Bishop Simon Brute in Indianapolis and the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus. The men tell of the joys and struggles of college seminary life while the video artfully shows moments of everyday life. It is a beautiful testament to the formation a young man receives in the seminary while he is discerning God’s will for his life.
Featured in the video are the following seminarians. Please keep them and all our college seminarians in your prayers:
Come check out the college seminary with us:
We thank USDigital Partners once again for the production of this wonderful video.