A new poster is about to hit your parish bulletin boards (and if you don’t see it, ask for it!) and it features the faces of (almost) all the men and women in formation for the many religious orders of men and women who minister here in the Archdiocese. The men and women featured in this poster all come from, or are currently living in, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and it is great to see their faces right along side the men who are seminarians for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati!
In addition to the men and women on this poster, let us keep in our prayers the other men and women who have followed God’s will to join orders outside the Archdiocese and the sons and daughters of our parishes who have already taken their final vows and who are currently living out their religious vocation.
The following is a “Letter from the Pastor” sent in to us by Fr. John Tonkin, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus in McCartyville. This letter will appear in this weekend’s bulletin in his parish and I thought his words should be heard by all as they speak poignantly to the responsibility we all have and the urgency with which we must act in raising up good and holy priests:
When I travel and attend Mass at other parishes, I like to bring back a copy of the bulletin to see what is happening in that part of the world, to see if there is something I can learn and use in our parish. Some of you also bring me bulletins from other parishes you visit in your travels. Recently, Diane Reiss brought me a bulletin from Sacred Heart Parish in Ely, Nevada. Here is an excerpt from Fr. McShane’s Pastor’s Letter: I will be absent next weekend March 15 & 16 with my annual attendance at the LA Religious Education Congress. Because there is no available priest to take my place, we will have a Communion Service instead of Mass. I wish I could have had a priest to replace me, but there was no priest able to come.
If we think that can’t or won’t happen here, then we are fooling ourselves. In the year 2020, just six short years from now, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati will have more retired priests than priests actively assigned to parishes as pastors or parochial vicars. Just as the baby boomers are swelling the ranks of retirees in the secular world, so are the baby boomer priests becoming eligible for retirement. Some day in the not-so-distant future many parishes will feel the pinch—and for some it will be a death knell. So what can we do about it? For one, we need to continue to pray individually, as families and as a parish community for more men to answer the call to ordained priesthood within the Catholic Church. And, we need to turn our prayer into action. A 2012 study by CARA showed that when three or more individuals actively support a young man or woman who is giving serious consideration to the priesthood or religious life, then that individual is more than five times more likely to give the calling strong consideration than if they did not have that support. We as a parish and we as individuals need to continue to foster vocations among our young men. When we see someone and he has the qualities that make a good priest (the same qualities that make a good husband and a good father), then it is our responsibility to point it out to him and ask: Have you ever thought about being a priest? God has not stopped calling men to the priesthood. But have we stopped asking?
To begin answering this call, please plan to join us in prayer for priestly vocations tomorrow, Thursday, March 27 from 7-8 pm. We will offer a Holy Hour for Priestly Vocations at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West but for whose who can’t make it, please take some time during that hour (or the whole hour) to pray for more young men to answer the call God has place on their heart and for you to recognize those young men so that you can give them encouragement as they begin their journey.
Occasionally in the Vocation Office, we receive emails from congregations we did not know prior. This week, we received an email from the Alexian Brothers to introduce themselves, which is always welcome!
From their website:
The Congregation of Alexian Brothers is a lay, apostolic Catholic Order whose Brothers, bound together by religious vows, dedicate themselves primarily to live in community and to participate in the ministry of healing in the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. For almost 800 years, the Alexian Brothers have cared for the sick, the aged, the poor and the dying.
The basic Judeo-Christian beliefs that inspired the founders of this Catholic religious congregation continue to sustain its ministry today. This heritage is espoused by the governance, management and entire health care team throughout the Alexian Brothers Health System in their mutual commitment to promote the physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being of all individuals served through the health care ministry.
As the there has been a dearth in priestly vocations (which is finally, albeit slowly abating), there has been a greater dearth in vocations to the brotherhood. Please offer a prayer for this community and all those called to the unique role of Brother within the Catholic Church.
There were some slight revisions to the previously posted Vocation Views, revised version is attached above.
The series of videos whose namesake has now received over 5500 views in its first month of publication is continuing on with a new short video featuring parochial vicar of Our Lady of Visitation parish, Fr. Marc Soellner.
Father Soellner was ordained in May 2012 and spent his first year as a priest at Holy Trinity in Coldwater, OH. Now back in his hometown, Cincinnati, he sits down to talk about his decision to enter the seminary and give God the chance to work through him.
“As our Lord told us,” Fr. Soellner says, “’there is no greater gift than to lay down one’s life for a friend,’ and that is what priests do.”
The entire series can be found HERE and please share these videos widely in your social network!
The best ‘sell’ for potential seminarians are current seminarians. For the young man who is thinking ‘Is this for me?’ there can be a sense that the seminary is too far beyond reach, all the men are too holy, too much would be expected, etc. There are all kinds of barriers that men put in the way of their entrance to seminary.
In my own discernment of the priesthood, actually visiting the seminary was such a key moment in recognizing that the men there were just like me: ordinary guys called to something extraordinary.
Our first ‘vignette‘ features three of our men, each discerning his own call to the priesthood, how he arrived at the seminary, what he found once he got there, and how he has changed since he has entered the seminary. For those men thinking about entering the seminary, hopefully you will find some resonance in your own journey.
To view the full ‘Gift of the Priesthood’ video, click here.
Today we are excited to announce our new vocation video geared specifically at the priesthood and featuring prominently our very own seminary, Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West, located right on Beechmont Avenue in Cincinnati!
“I’m continually amazed by the gift of the priesthood” says Fr. David Endres as the film begins, “meaning that it is never something that anyone takes on themselves or something that you necessarily even desire for yourself but something that really is God’s will for you, that is going to give you that ultimate joy and happiness.”
These words are just the beginning of a video full of fantastic imagery, and even more beautiful words spoken by many of the same priests who are currently helping to form the men in the seminary to become the great priests they may be called to be.
We invite you now, to please take this opportunity to learn about what makes the priesthood such a gift, not just to the Church as a whole, but to the man being called to this life.
“The life of the priesthood is just something beyond expression,” says Fr. Benedict O’Cinnsealaigh, Rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West, as the video comes to a close, “[and] all God asks us to do is to say, ‘Yes,’…and He can bring about marvelous things.”
Come explore The Gift of the Priesthood.
Many thanks go to Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West faculty and seminarians, the priests interviewed for this video, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr for the okay to produce this video, and US Digital Partners for the production of this video!
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