For the past two years, Br. Henry Hoffman has studied as a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He entered formation as a college graduate and a pre-Theology student. Over the past two years, Henry’s vocation has become more certain for him and has transformed at the same time. In the latest newsletter from the Community-in-Formation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, Br. Hoffman explains how he found the fullness of his vocation to the priesthood:
It is hard for me to believe that I have been in the novitiate for more than two months; the time has simply flown by. God is good and has poured out his goodness on me abundantly by bringing me to the Community-in-Formation.
I first encountered Saint Philip Neri while staying in Rome in the spring of 2014. I prayed often at his tomb in the Chiesa Nuova and believe it was there that he planted the seeds of my vocation to the Community. I learned a little about Saint Philip then, and was struck by his prayerfulness and joy, as most are who possess the least knowledge of him whatsoever. Little did i know at the time that he would become my patron and spiritual father. During the two years I spent in the diocesan seminary, I often came to Old Saint Mary’s because I loved the beauty and reverence of the Masses and devotion of the Community which offered them. Praying at Old Saint Mary’s sustained and encouraged my vocation and, eventually, I came to realize that God was calling me to be a part of this blessed place. May God reward all who prayed and sacrificed to make my vocation a reality and may they continue to do so.
My thirty-day visit, as part of the application process this past summer, went very well and I felt at home right away. I enjoyed the many opportunities to serve at the Sacred Liturgy and it seemed that God destined me for this Community. So, applying to officially enter the Community as a postulant and subsequently being clothed with the habit as a novice were part of a natural progression for me. From helping the poor, to working on the Pious House, to chanting Vespers on Sundays, the novitiate has been a blessed time of spiritual growth. I am humbled by the blessings that God has given me so far and by all of my imperfections which yet remain to be purged. The process of sanctification never ends and my journey has only begun. So, I beg all of you to pray for me. Please be assured of my prayers for you, too. Preferisco Paradiso!
For all those who are looking for this year’s vocation views (small snippets to add to your weekly bulletins), they are now available both on the Archdiocesan website: catholiccincinnati.org and now in our resources page. Thank you for your continued support in helping us to build up a culture of vocations across the Archdiocese!
This weekend offers two fantastic opportunities for people of all ages to praise our Lord in the Eucharist!
On Friday, November 18th, Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West is hosting another Vigil Praise event in the St. Gregory Chapel from 7-8 pm with a social following the holy hour. This event is led by the seminarians at Mount St. Mary’s and features a keynote talk by Fr. Eric Wood, a 2015 graduate of the seminary and parochial vicar of St. Francis de Sales, Lebanon and St. Philip, Morrow. He will be speaking on the Year of Mercy and the responsibilities of all Christians found in Matthew 25. This event is open to people of all ages including families!
The very next day, Saturday, November 19th, offers another great opportunity for high school teens to come worship our Eucharistic Lord and to join in a great discussion about most of the permanent vocations of the Church (i.e., priesthood, religious life, consecrated single life and married life) during a Vocation Panel at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Anderson Township from 6-7 pm. The panel discussion, which will take place in Heritage Hall on the IHM campus includes FREE pizza for all participants and chaperones. Directly following the panel is Encounter, the quarterly Eucharistic worship event for high school teens that leads them in an encounter with Jesus Christ and also allows them the opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation. Encounter will take place in the IHM church. For more information and to complete the necessary permission slip, contact your local youth minister or Encounter Cincinnati.
Don’t miss these wonderful opportunities to be close to our Eucharistic Lord and to be challenged by his presence to become the person he has created you to be!
National Vocation Awareness Week will be celebrated on November 6-12, 2016. This is an opportunity for all parishes to raise awareness that we all have a unique purpose, given to us by God our creator and we must all seek after that vocation with great zeal. In particular, we want to pray for good and holy priests to lead us and provide us nourishment for the journey of our discernment and for good and holy consecrated men and women who can provide for us the vision of the heavenly reality where we all will be united fully with our Creator for all eternity.
This is your one-stop shop for all the resources we have to offer. If you don’t see something you were hoping for, please let us know and we will do our best to provide it next year or find it for your this year!
For all teachers/catechists/youth ministers:
Vocation Lesson Plans: www.vocationlessons.com. Enter the code: CinciVocations513 and gain access to lesson plans for every grade and age level up through high school. These are available throughout the year, so feel free to come back often.
*NEW* Vocation Prayer Card in Spanish: We currently have our Archdiocesan Prayer for Vocations in English and have just received our first shipment of the same prayer cards in Spanish. Please let us know how many your parish requires for Vocation Awareness Week and we will ship them to you immediately!
*NEW* Vocation Prayer Card for Children We now have available a new prayer card for elementary school children. The small prayer card features the image of Jesus with children with the words “Who does God want me to be?” on the front and a beautiful, simple prayer to know my vocation on the back. We are accepting orders for these now and are ready to ship them immediately.
ORDER VOCATION MATERIALS! Use this link to order any of the vocation culture materials we have available in our office. There are several different pamphlets, booklets, books and prayer cards. All materials are available for free and we will do our best to respond immediately to all requests!
The Gift of the Priesthood – This series of videos is available online only and is another beautiful witness to the life of priests in our Archdiocese and the joy they find in living out their vocation. Full Video| Fr. O’Cinnsealaigh| Fr. Fernades| The Seminarians| For Parents (each video is less than 10 minutes)
The Man Behind the Collar – This series created by our office is an engaging set of videos that shows the various aspects of a priest’s life told by three different priests. We still have a very limited supply of these available to parishes or you can view them here. Three Priests| Fr. Brausch | Fr. Fox| Fr. Tozzi (each video is less than 10 minutes)
Fishers of Men is still a powerful and engaging video to show young people who have never considered the importance of a Catholic priest. (about 20 minutes in length)
The Face of Religious Life Today – a video created at the direction of many religious communities who serve the Archdiocese of Cincinnati witnesses to the various types of women and men who have chosen to pursue the consecrated life today. (about 5 minutes)
For Love Alone – A video produced by the Council for Major Superiors of Women Religious shares another group of women who have chosen to follow God’s will in their lives. Here is a 2 minute trailer. (Full video is less than 20 minutes.)
Vocation Panel from NRVC – This long video involves a great conversation with various religious men and women. The video is about 90 minutes in length and has many great insights into religious life.
Statewide Adoration for Vocations: Parishes and religious communities from all over the state of Ohio will be joining together to pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life on Wednesday, November 9, 2016. Check out all the details and join us in prayer!
Bible Reading Novena: The Serra Club of Cincinnati will be reading the entire Bible in 9 days of consecutive prayer for vocations beginning Saturday, November 5 and reading daily from 8am-8pm until Sunday, November 13th. At the beginning and after each book they will stop to pray the Archdiocesan Prayer for Vocations as well as the Memorare. The reading will take place in the Chapel at St. James of the Valley in Wyoming. All are encouraged to come join in prayer and reading of the Scriptures.
Today, The Catholic Telegraph shares the great news that for the first time in 35 years, the Athenaeum/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West in Cincinnati is home to 75 seminarians and another 25 men who are studying for the Permanent Diaconate bringing the total number of men who are preparing for ordination at this institution to 100 men!
A seminary nearly bursting at the seams means more than just a full building. “We are looking forward to a busy year,” [the seminary rector,] Fr. O’Cinnsealaigh, said. “With so many new faces and lots of energy, the seminary is a very active and vibrant place. As well as study and prayer, seminarians are involved in apostolic works around the city such as prison ministry, hospital ministry, soup kitchens, and pregnancy centers. They help in school programs, and get involved in activities with schools. They also participate in mission trips, and in a seminary exchange program with the seminary in Honduras, and volunteer around the region and around the world during the summer.
On Friday, September 23, 2016 all are invited to an evening of Eucharistic adoration and fellowship at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West located at 6616 Beechmont Ave. in Cincinnati. The evening will be lead by Fr. Chris Geiger who was ordained this past May as a priest for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and praise and worship music will be provided by the Encounter Cincinnati band along with the seminarians of the Mount. All are welcome and encouraged to attend. The evening begins with adoration at 7:00 and will conclude with a social in the Marian courtyard beginning at 8:00.
If you are a young man in high school who has even fleetingly thought about being called to the Diocesan Priesthood, another opportunity to discover more about that call and to meet and have dinner with Archbishop Schnurr, Fr. Schmitmeyer and seminarians of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is fast approaching. At the end of September, the Archbishop will be attending three Andrew Dinners (one in each region of the Archdiocese) and would like to see you there. Please go here to get the dates and times and to register for the nearest dinner to your home parish.