Cleansing Fire

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Vocations Awareness Programs and Their Fruits

November 11th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

The following is taken from the new site from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, dedicated solely to vocations. A Nod of the Miter to Rich Leonardi for pointing it out.

This past weekend I attended a friend’s wedding in another diocese. Allowing extra travel time for potential construction delays and traffic, but encountering neither, I arrived at the church a bit early. Being a seminarian, I of course took the time to snoop around a bit, critiquing the architecture, artwork, etc. And, like a moth to a flame, I was drawn to the diocesan seminary poster in the vestibule (we all know how hideous ours have been . . . a smiling Fr. Marcoux, a shaggy-haired boy(?) in an alb with Bishop Clark in front of a kind of pathetic altar, etc.). Looking over the photos and parishes of each guy in formation, I noticed that five of them came from the same parish. Granted, they’re all at different stages, from first-year through transitional deacon (Andrew Montanaro is starting his first year, and Deacon Caton is a transitional deacon. Uncanny, eh?) , but still there couldn’t be more than five or six years separating them from the time they entered seminary. How did this one parish promote such a concentration of vocations to the priesthood?

The answer came during the reception after the wedding. By sheer providence, I ended up at a table with a family that attends this very parish! They were very active in the parish; the mother, in fact, had recently completed training as an ecclesial lay minister (don’t worry – it’s not our kind of “lay minister”). So, I mentioned the poster, complimenting their parish for promoting so many vocations.

Apparently, that was just the tip of the iceberg. The husband told me that didn’t include the men recently ordained in the last few years as well as the men and a number of women in formation for religious life. Wow! What’s their secret? I asked point blank what they felt was prompting so many to discern vocations. Here, roughly, is the conversation that followed:

Lay minister: “Well, we have 1300 families, so it’s a large parish. You’re bound to have more vocations.”
Me: “There are parishes in Cincinnati with that many families that do not have anywhere near that level of vocations.”
Lay minster: “We also have a large adoration chapel.”
Me: “Do you have perpetual adoration?”
Lay minster: “Yes…”

Bingo! (Yes! Bingo, indeed!)

Another case in point of the link between Eucharistic Adoration and discernment. Spending time with the Lord, in His Real Presence, is a tried-and-true way to listen for and hear God’s call. I know it’s what has made the most difference in my own spiritual life and what led me to formation for the priesthood.

Adoro te devote, latens Deitas, quae sub his figuris vere latitas: tibi se cor meum totum subjicit, quia te contemplans totum deficit.

While Cincinnati is certainly bigger than Rochester, the results seen here should be an indication to the powers-that-be that a greater focus should be placed on Eucharistic Adoration to promote priestly (and religious) vocations. Cincinnati has perpetual adoration. Rochester has baseball games and dinners. And guess which diocese has a better proportion of seminarians to Catholics? Oh, that’s not fair. We already know Rochester is practically dead last.

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2 Responses to “Vocations Awareness Programs and Their Fruits”

  1. avatar benanderson says:

    and a note of thanks to Saint John of Rochester in Fairport for having 24/7 adoration.

  2. avatar Mike says:

    From the web site of the Diocese of Wichita’s St. Francis of Assisi Parish, where what became that diocese’s very successful Stewardship Program first began in 1964 …

    HOW MANY PARISHIONERS PARTICIPATE?

    The answer is always changing and probably known only by God. St. Francis is a very active parish of over 2600 families, with some 85% of our parishioners attending weekend Masses, more than 500 parishioners participate in Perpetual Adoration, some 750 students attend the Parish grade school, another 500 participate in the Parish School of Religion program and more than 250 attend the area Catholic high school. There are approximately 70 organizations active in the parish, made up of more than 1,900 volunteers. The Stewardship Way of Life has also significantly contributed to helping develop nine priests and six Religious from St. Francis since 1968.

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