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Vocations to Priesthood

Adopt a Priest

Good and holy bishops can be an enormous influence in encouraging suitable candidates to enter the seminary by speaking fearlessly about vocations and the celibate priesthood when visiting parishes and by asking the local pastor just one simple question "Who in this parish would make a good priest?"

Bishop Gossman of Raleigh North Carolina wished to honour Pope John Paul on the occasion of the Holy Father's silver jubilee as pope. The bishop decided to celebrate the occasion in a way that would truly appeal to the great pope's heart.

On 16th October 2003 in the cathedral of The Sacred Heart his lordship presided at a pontifical mass for "vocations and for the intentions of Pope John Paul". Some days beforehand a member of his Diocesan Vocations' team wrote the name of each priest in his diocese on separate cards - very many duplicates were prepared in anticipation of a generous response from the faithful. During the mass these cards were offered to the congregation after the Communion (without priests we would not have Holy Communion). It was somewhat like a collection in reverse. Instead of the baskets being handed around to collect the people's cash offerings, the baskets already contained hundreds of cards each listing the name of a priest. As the baskets circulated the congregation selected a card if they wished to pray for a priest. The overflowing congregation responded magnificently and all the priests in the diocese of Raleigh were "Adopted" into the hearts of their faithful at that special mass.

One priest who concelebrated the mass recalled the event one week later when he told a friend " It was one of the most truly remarkable evenings I have had the privilege to celebrate as a priest and already one vocation prospect has come forward to state his readiness to say YES to God."

The same pastor recalled that the following Christmas whilst he was talking to a fellow diocesan priest a total stranger came up them and with a big smile on her face told his colleague that she was praying for him because his name was recorded on the card she had selected at the silver jubilee mass. The effects are continuing to this day. A number of bishops in the United States are now using their web sites to encourage as many Catholics as possible throughout their dioceses to "Adopt a Priest" in their heart and to pray daily for his wellbeing.

I wonder if we have any right to complain about the shortage of priests when we can rectify the situation by personally asking the Lord of the Harvest to send us more good and holy priests.

Dear reader, would you be so kind as to "Adopt a Priest" in your heart and to say one "Hail Mary" daily for his wellbeing?

Perhaps, if you feel it appropriate you could also share this story with your pastor, members of your prayer group and your fellow parishioners in the hope that they too may follow your example.

Vocations Guide to Priesthood



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