‘I ask you to join with me in creating a culture of vocations’
I asked our priests to speak last weekend at the Sunday Masses about the vocation to the diocesan priesthood. My purpose in declaring Vocation to the Diocesan Priesthood Sunday was twofold. First, from time to time we need to hear that the ordained priest is essential to the life of our church. That topic is infrequently addressed in Sunday sermons. We need to change that and take advantage when the Sunday Scriptures lend themselves to speaking about the ordained priest in the life of the church. Second, there may be a young man who hears in the words of the preacher that Christ is inviting him to consider a vocation to the diocesan priesthood. Let us never underestimate the circumstances in which the power of the grace of an invitation from the Lord to the priesthood falls into the heart of a young man.
As your diocesan bishop, I have a responsibility to provide priests for the church in Camden. I will do whatever is necessary to demonstrate that this responsibility is a priority for my episcopal ministry. The Lord continues to call young men to the service of God’s people as ordained priests. There have been circumstances that may have prevented the Lord’s call from getting through and being responded to. But, we need to clear the air and let the Lord’s message get out.
I ask you who read this column to assist me in making this a priority. Here’s what you can do. You may know a young man whom you think should consider the call to the priesthood. Tell him that. Mention it to him. Your words just might stir up his prayerful thinking and he may hear Christ’s call in your words. You can also pray and pray frequently that young men find the courage to come forward.
Prayer cards were distributed at the parishes. If you did not get one, the prayer is copied at right. Cut it out and join me in praying it daily. Your prayer can be both powerful and effective. Let many voices be raised in our diocese making a prayerful noise to the Lord on behalf of His church in Camden.
Our Vocation Director, Father Michael Romano can be reached at 856-583-2858, Michael.Romano@camdendiocese.org. He is available to speak with any young man (eleventh grade and up). Father can assist a young inquirer by guiding his interest in the priesthood. You don’t have to sign up. It’s come and see. Come and hear about the rewarding, happy life of a diocesan priest.
There are many wonderful priests in our diocese. You know them and I am getting to know my new brothers. They serve you generously and gladly. They live fulfilling lives as parish priests. When you have an opportunity, thank your parish priest for having heard and responded to the Lord’s call. Can you imagine what your parish would be like without him? Can you imagine if he was not available for you?
I ask you to join with me in creating a culture of vocations to the diocesan priesthood for the church in Camden.