Have We Stopped Asking?
Have We Stopped Asking?
March 26th, 2014 by vocations

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.

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