Prayers of First Graders
Sr. Briege McKenna tells the story of how she encouraged her first grade students to pray for a priest. The young children told their parents about Sr. Briege’s initiative and they asked if the priest was ill. Sister explained that he was not but that all priests need our prayers. Some of the parents then joined in Sr. Briege’s crusade to pray for priests.
Sr. Briege also encouraged her six year olds to write a letter to some of her priest friends. One little girl from the class (thinking he was ill) wrote to a priest saying in her best spelling
“Dear Father, Our sister told us about how much Jesus loves you and that He gave you power to do things that no other person can do and so we asked Jesus to make you better because people need you because you are so special to Jesus and if you weren’t able to do what you are supposed to do then other people would be poorer."
When the priest read the letter it pierced his heart because he had planned to leave the priesthood and marry. He instantly reconsidered his commitment.
Within a year he flew to Florida to visit the children in Sr. Briege’s class and told them that he wanted them to know that they saved his vocation. He said he never prayed. He explained to them that he had become like a doctor trying to perform an operation without any instruments. He told the little ones that he was trying to tell people about Jesus but he had never talked to Him. Thanks to the prayers of those little six year olds that priest is now happily serving Jesus as His priest in a U.S. Diocese.
Mindful of the joy that the prayers of children bring to the Lord and the graces they bring to His people, one U.S. diocese has begun a vocation prayer initiative with the principals of the diocesan Catholic schools. Every morning students and teachers pray for vocations and also pray for their seminarians together with men and women in formation by name, using a prayer calendar supplied by the diocese which dedicates each day of prayer for a particular person in formation.
The schools join together asking the Lord of the Harvest to strengthen them in following His call to serve Him and His people as priests, religious sisters or brothers. In doing so, not only will our men and women already answering His call be enriched, but also these young people will become more aware of the need to pray for vocations and be more open to the Lord’s invitation to follow Him in their own lives.
Vocations Guide to Priesthood