Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘Vocations’

Keeping Christ in Christmas

December 16th, 2015, Promulgated by Bernie

Three Knights of Columbus Councils in the Rochester area have implemented “Keeping Christ in Christmas” activities this year. There are no doubt more than three but these are the three I have noticed so far.

(Saint) Pope Pius XII Council of the Knights of Columbus secured prime real estate in Irondequoit for a nativity display. Facing the center of the busy intersection of Titus Avenue and Culver Road is a good sized glassed-in display containing a nativity scene composed of figurines.


01d60838883051add80f53e74c10715484cbf5362bSaint Damien of Molokai Council 11411 implemented an original project this year for keeping Christ in Christmas. Christmas cards from people at several different parishes and from students at the Seton School in Brighton were collected, bundled, and mailed to each of the seminarians from the Rochester diocese. The cards were to be delivered to the seminarians at their respective seminaries or parish assignments before they went home for Christmas break. David Fiorito, owner of Genesee Bakery on Mt. Hope Avenue and a member of Council 11411, spearheaded that effort.

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Announcement in Our Lady of Lourdes + Saint Anne Cluster Bulletin

Folks going and coming along a 5-6 mile stretch of  East Henrietta Road (Rt. 15A)  see “Keep Christ in Christmas” billboard-like signs on the three properties of Saint Marianne Cope Parish: The Church of the Good Shepherd, Guardian Angels Church and Saint Joseph Church. The signs are set-up every Advent and Christmas season by Our Lady of the Genesee Knights of Columbus Council.

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The Church of the Good Shepherd, Henrietta

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Guardian Angels Church on East Henrietta Road

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St. Joseph Church at the head of the “Y” intersection in Rush.

Reminder: Mass for Priestly Vocations – Friday, August 16

August 10th, 2013, Promulgated by Gen

This is just a reminder that on Friday, August 16th, at 6:30 PM, there will be a Mass offered at the Carmelite Monastery on Jefferson Road. The intention of the Mass is for an increase of priestly vocations. Fr. Michael Mayer will be presiding. Holy Mass will conclude with Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

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These events are wonderful opportunities to practice what we preach. We need priests badly, and if we gather together to pray for this intention, just imagine how much more efficacious our prayers will be!


Mass for Priestly Vocations August 16

July 13th, 2013, Promulgated by Bernie

mass for priestly vocIONS

Reminder: Mass for Vocations, Tomorrow, 7:00 PM at St. Anne

April 25th, 2013, Promulgated by Gen


Just a brief reminder that tomorrow is the Mass for Vocations held at St. Anne, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Council 11411.

Friday, April 26, 2013, 7:00 PM

St. Anne Church

1600 Mt. Hope Avenue

Fr. John Colacino presiding, Deacon Tom Jewell preaching

Refreshments to follow Mass.

Mass for Vocations – Friday, April 26, 7:00 PM at St. Anne

April 9th, 2013, Promulgated by Gen

228770_10150197073126842_5645585_nWe have received word that Knights of Columbus St. Damien of Moloka’i Council #11411 will be sponsoring another vocations-awareness event, this time a Mass for Vocations to be offered on Friday, April 26, at 7:00 PM at St. Anne Church. Mark your calendars, and do your best to attend!

On a related note, I recently found this poem which seems particularly suited for a young person’s desire to found his or her vocation in life:


Our Legacy, Our Future, Our Hope: The Campaign for Retired Priests and Seminarians

January 29th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

The Diocese of Rochester is expected to hold a press conference tomorrow where they will announce the public phase of a fundraising campaign entitled “Our Legacy, Our Future, Our Hope.” This campaign was initiated two years ago by Bishop emeritus Matthew Clark as a way to raise money for the retired priest pension fund, and to sponsor the formation of an increasing number of seminarians.

To date, the diocese has raised close to $11 million toward the $14 million campaign goal. $1.2 million came from our priests, $1.4 million came from the Diocesan Stewardship Council, and the balance was donated by various wealthy individuals in the area – God bless them all.

It is now up to us lay members of the Diocese of Rochester to reach the campaign goal and close the roughly $3 million gap that remains. Granted, you might have concerns such as: why didn’t the diocese address this through the CMA all these years or, why did we spend so much wrecking the Cathedral instead of this, or will the Rev. Charles Curran be a recipient of my money? All good questions that I hope someone from the diocese could answer. Still, I’m sure many will agree with me that this is a very important cause. First, this is a terrific opportunity to show appreciation for all the good and holy priests we have known throughout our lives. Don’t let the poor ones hinder your desire to assist the good ones. Second, providing assistance to our seminarians is an wonderful way to promote the future vibrancy of the Catholic priesthood in our area. We have several good, solid, orthodox seminarians in formation who could use your financial help.

Below is an excellent video posted today to the diocesan Youtube page which features our Apostolic Administrator, retired priests, and several Rochester seminarians. Please watch the entire clip, pray over the matter, and make a decision whether or not you wish to participate in the fundraising campaign. Bp. Cunningham will soon mail out letters promoting this initiative.

Update 1/30/13: Catholic Courier story about the fundraiser

Photos and Video From September 28th Rosary for Vocations

October 9th, 2012, Promulgated by Gen

Here are some beautiful photos and videos of the recent Rosary for Priestly Vocations that was held at St. Thomas More Church. Fr. Coffas, rector of Becket Hall, led the congregation in a reverent holy hour, wherein was recited the Holy Rosary, and which concluded with Solemn Benediction. If you were in attendance and would like to offer your thoughts on the service, please feel free to do so. 


Rosary for Priestly Vocations – Friday, September 28, 7:00PM at St. Thomas More

September 19th, 2012, Promulgated by Gen

We have received word that there will be a Rosary for Priestly Vocations offered at St. Thomas More on Friday, September 28th, at 7:00 PM. Fr. William Coffas will be presiding, and offering his thoughts on the subject. Many of you may note that he is the director of our Diocese’s house of discernment, Becket Hall. The service will include Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and will end with Solemn Benediction.

Please do your best to attend!

Images of the Priesthood

June 17th, 2012, Promulgated by Bernie


Unforgettable Images of the Priesthood

From the National Catholic Register


Another year, another celebrity priest ends his career in scandal. No doubt there are many cautionary lessons to learn from these sad stories about the spiritual dangers of fame and the need to always watch and pray. But I learned something else.

It occurred to me that the images of the Catholic priesthood I will always remember aren’t of priests on a stage — or even priests in the pulpit — but by priests in action, doing what only priests can do.

For instance, I will never forget the priest we knew in Washington, D.C., who came to visit my family in Connecticut.

We were chatting in the front room with Father in late summer after dinner one day when we…

Read more here.

Rosary for Vocations – May 29th, 6:30 PM at Carmel

May 22nd, 2012, Promulgated by Gen

All – I wanted to convey to you an invitation we received. There will be another Rosary for Priestly Vocations, to be held this coming Tuesday, May 29th, at 6:30 PM at the Carmelite Monastery on Jefferson Road. Evidently, the event was originally going to be hosted at St. Thomas the Apostle, but was deemed “redundant” and turned down. However, the gracious sisters at our Carmel understand the value of prayer, and have thus opened their doors to the faithful of Rochester, that we might pray together for an increase in fervent and holy vocations to our diocesan priesthood.

If you are a Facebook user, you may find the event here:

Fr. Dennis Bonsignore will be presiding, with several diocesan seminarians attending and assisting. This promises to be a beautiful service, with volunteers from several local parishes providing servers and singers. Please do your best to attend what is bound to be a memorable evening at Carmel!

Some selections from the musical program include: a setting of the Tantum Ergo by Victoria, William Byrd’s “Ave Verum,” Gregor Aichinger’s “Regina Caeli,” and other precious gems from our patrimony of sacred liturgical music.


Carmel Receives Two New Sisters

January 29th, 2012, Promulgated by Gen

The Carmelite Monastery on Jefferson Road will be welcoming two new sisters over the next several months, the first arriving in a week or two from the Buffalo Carmel, where she has recently finished her postulancy. The other sister will be joining Carmel from another order wherein she is already professed.

Keep praying for vocations to our Carmel!

It’s Just a Building

September 30th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

“How lovely are your tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! 3 My soul longs and faints for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God. 4 For the sparrow has found herself a house, and the turtle a nest for herself where she may lay her young ones: Your altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God. 5 Blessed are they that dwell in your house, O Lord: they shall praise you for ever and ever. 6 Blessed is the man whose help is from you: in his heart he has disposed to ascend by steps, 7 in the vale of tears, in the place which he has set. 8 For the lawgiver shall give a blessing, they shall go from virtue to virtue: the God of gods shall be seen in Sion. 9 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. 10 Behold, O God our protector: and look on the face of your Christ. 11 For better is one day in your courts above thousands. I have chosen to be an abject in the house of my God, rather than to dwell in the tabernacles of sinners. 12 For God loves mercy and truth: the Lord will give grace and glory. 13 He will not deprive of good things them that walk in innocence: O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusts in you.” (Psalm 84)

This is, without a doubt, my favorite of all the psalms. Whenever I read it, whenever it appears in the Mass or the Divine Office, even when it is referenced in passing on the internet or in my other reading, I always feel profoundly touched by it. I can’t help but think, “This is my prayer.”

And then my thoughts expand, and I come to realize that it is the prayer of so many of my friends, my acquaintances, my fellow Catholics in the Diocese of Rochester. Of course, all Catholics, and probably all Orthodox Christians, too, find this psalm particularly beautiful. We have maintained in our worship a sense of the sacrifice of old. When we go to Mass, we see the unbloody re-enactment of Calvary and then receive our risen Lord in Holy Communion. Upon the altar of sacrifice, our King deigns to come down to dwell with us. It is in our churches, be they grand or not, modern or old, beautiful or ugly, we see the sacrifice of that Worthiest of Lambs, and not for His own gain, but for ours.

It is for this reason that churches are sacred, for they become our Calvaries, they become the tomb, they become the tabernacles of the Most High. We spend our Sundays, not in our pew or in our seats, but at the foot of the Cross, keeping vigil with Our Lady. When we return from Communion, we are retracing the steps of St. Mary Magdalene, with the news “He lives!” in our hearts. When we leave the church and head to the parking lot, we become like so many disciples who traveled to the ends of the earth to spread the Gospel, inspired and emboldened by that Miracle of Miracles, the Holy Mass.

Why, then, are we told that when our church closes, when it succumbs to schism and dissent, that we mustn’t worry? “It’s just a building.” Yes, it is “just a building,” and Our Lord is present in the tabernacle down the street, but the church serves a purpose more Godly than merely existing to give shelter to the faith community. When we move, there is a sense of loss, be it great or minor, but it’s there nonetheless. The memories of the old house, the musty apartment, the basement “pad” suddenly seem like a precious commodity, something that is special and cherished, not so much because the recollections are so great, but because they can never be augmented. They are the only things linking us to what we have experienced for the past five, ten, twenty, or forty years.

The same is true of our churches. Rationally, yes, we can start worshiping in another building. It’s the same Mass, the same Lord, the same Faith – just a different building. But there is something more profound about losing a church than, say, moving across the city or relocating to a different state. “It’s just a building,” that beloved phrase of our pastoral planning committees, dismisses the richness of our experiences that we had at our spiritual homes. It is offensive that these people think that summarizing such a complex situation into such a trite phrase might actually heal our wounds. When we experience spiritual pain, when our churches are ripped from us, when our parishes become havens of heresy, the pain we experience is profound. Just as our Lord cried out in the Garden of Gethsemane, “My soul is sorrowful unto death. Is there any pain like unto my pain?” so too do our souls cry out in bitter anguish.

And we are not pierced by sorrow for the loss of a building – we are crushed because our nest has been thrown down and trampled upon, our tabernacles ransacked. “The sparrow has found herself a house,” but we find ourselves exiles. When the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, do you think that the scribes and pharisees said, “It’s just a building”? No – they saw it as sacrilege, that the House of God should be thus treated by vandals and enemies of Faith. They didn’t fall back upon cheap platitudes like, “God’s everywhere, just look around.” No. They wept. They mourned. They were scattered.

For some of us, this might seem overly dramatic. Others, though, will understand. When you give your heart to God, you must know that in doing so, you take your place beside Our Lady, looking upon her suffering Son. And no two of these personal Calvaries are the same. It doesn’t matter where you experience it, for it is certain that at some point, sooner or later, you will. When you love the Church, you must be ready to have your own heart pierced like Our Lady. You must be ready to embrace the cross wherever it is given to you, and to accept every splinter that enters you.   “Blessed is the man whose help is from you: in his heart he has disposed to ascend by steps, in the vale of tears, in the place which he has set.”

Some people who are intimately acquainted with such things are forced to be out of necessity – the church is closed, either legitimately or because of some imagined debt, ecclesial or financial. Other people are given a altogether different experience, wherein the building itself remains, but becomes a den of sacrilege. But like the psalm says, one day in the courts of the Lord is, indeed, better than a thousand elsewhere. I speak only for myself when I say that I cannot endure the willful dissent of people who profess to defend the Church, but whose actions betray a sinister agenda. Administrations come and go, churches are closed and built, but disobedience has always existed and will always exist. And it will exist everywhere, be it in Rochester, New York, Billings, Montana, Miami, Florida, or even Columbia, South Carolina. If one were to leave one city for another, it isn’t to escape the cross, but it ought to be realize that it is in order that he might pursue it. Likewise, when people leave a parish whose building is intact but the administration has changed, they leave because they cannot stand the pain of seeing the lance thrust into Our Lord’s side. They leave because, like Our Lord, their souls are “sorrowful unto death,” wounded through love of Him who loves us so much.

Do not condemn those who flee as cowards. Do not see their departures as abandonments. All they are doing is responding to their call as best as they know how. We are not all called to suffer in this way, but for those who have apparently been called to do so, we must realize that we “have chosen to be abject in the house of my God, rather than to dwell in the tabernacles of sinners.” It isn’t about playing the part of the martyr, or following the easy path. Nor is it about going where things are prettier, or hearing Mass where it looks nicer. What it is about is responding to that constant urging in your heart to follow Him. When Catholics leave a parish, a city, a diocese, they leave their spiritual home. For some, their vocations may have been nurtured on the steps of their parish church, or roused to liveliness in the pews. To leave that home is not an easy thing, nor is it desirable, but it is often necessary in order to answer what God desires, and put the desires of our fellows in their appropriate places.

And so, when we are told that we shouldn’t weep, that we shouldn’t protest, that we shouldn’t complain when things don’t go our way because, “it’s just a building,” know that we are right. We aren’t so stupid as to think that the Faith is restricted to a building or a diocese. We do know that the Faith is restricted to those who observe it. Faith is dead when individuals proceed to alter it for their own satisfaction, and churches die when this mentality reigns. We know it’s not about the building – it’s about Him whom the building exists to serve.

For God loves mercy and truth: the Lord will give grace and glory. He will not deprive of good things them that walk in innocence: O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusts in you.”

Rosary for Vocations

September 15th, 2011, Promulgated by Mike

My video from Tuesday evening’s Rosary for Vocations held at St. John Fisher College:


My observations: The sacred music selections (see below) were awesome, the choir’s rendition of same was superb and Deacon Tom Jewell’s homily, which begins at the 4:02 mark, was excellent.

Opening Hymn: The Royal Banners Forward Go
Sermon: by Dcn. Tom Jewell – “Nothing is Sacred Anymore”
Procession to the tabernacle: Christus Factus Est (Gradual for Holy Thursday)
Exposition: O Salutaris Hostia
Rosary: Salve Regina (chant)
Adoration: Jesu Dulcis Memoria (chant) with Jesu Rex Admirabilis (Palestrina polyphony) interspersed
Benediction: Tantum Ergo (chant, Pange Lingua melody)
Reposition: Adoremus in Aeternum (chant)
Recessional Hymn: Rejoice the Lord is King

Rosary for Vocations – September 13th at St. John Fisher College

September 12th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

Photo of the Knights' last Rosary service, held at St. Anne Church

We would like to let you all know about an upcoming event which you should certainly consider attending. On September 13th at 7:30 PM in the Coleman Chapel at St. John Fisher, the Knights of Columbus Council 11411 will be sponsoring another Rosary for Vocations. Do consider going, as these are always very beautiful, prayerful events which have yielded great fruit.

The Knights of Columbus are always looking for volunteers for these events. If you are interested in helping in any capacity, just sent an email to us at and we’ll forward it to the Council for you. They can use servers and singers, and are looking for an interested parish to host their Advent Rosary for Vocations. These services are solely based on volunteers, so please don’t hesitate to lend a hand – it’s a noble cause, to be sure!


The Real Deal

June 5th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

Here are a few photographs from the Buffalo News of yesterday’s priestly ordination of Church of the Nativity parishioner, Deacon Dan Serbicki, for the Diocese of Buffalo. Congratulations, Dan. You are a priest forever!

Fr. Serbicki will offer Mass at Nativity on Pentecost Sunday (June 12th) at 10 AM.

There is also another Nativity parishioner preparing for the Catholic priesthood. Jason Hage is presently in second theology for the Diocese of Syracuse. Please keep both of these men in your prayers.

Fr. Enyan-Boadu has had to endure many trials in the Diocese of Rochester, including false accusations brought against him by a parish employee and the present uncertainty about his next assignment (one rumor has him serving as a sacramental minister under Nancy DeRycke), but he has a long-lasting legacy in these two young men. God bless you, Father!

The Role of Women in the Church

May 19th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

Fr. Christopher Smith shares his insights on this matter at the Chant Cafe. The entire article is very articulate, and certainly deserves your perusal. Here, though, is the closing paragraph.

When we look at the women in the New Testament, we get an idea of what women’s participation in the life of the Church and the liturgy should look like. As equal members of the Body of Christ, they had no need of ordination to worship God, or to do the amazing things that they did. And those things were often more remarkable, and had more staying power, than what the Twelve did. The constant close attention of the women in the Gospel to Christ and to others, serving them and in doing so, serving Christ. It is entirely correct to say that a woman’s place in the Church is one of subordination, just as all disciples freely subordinate themselves to love God and all people. A woman’s place in the Church is to follow Christ, lavish her love without cost upon Him, serve the needs of the poor and the defenseless: in other words, a subordination to the law of love. In doing so, women can find that they are not indeed slaves to an outmoded patriarchal system drunk on abuses of power and justice, but friends of Christ. And there can be no greater freedom and noble role in the Church and world than that!

Two Rochesterians to Become Priests

May 3rd, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

Deacon Scott Caton

Scott Caton, a former Protestant minister and father of six, will be ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood at Sacred Heart Cathedral on June 11th at 10:30 AM. Deacon Caton is a parishioner of Our Lady of Victory/St. Joseph church in downtown Rochester. Prior to his ordination to the diaconate, Caton received permission from the Holy Father to proceed on his path toward the Catholic priesthood by way of an exemption which permits married male Protestant ministers to become Catholic priests after their conversion (with the blessing of the local ordinary, of course).

All are invited to Deacon Caton’s priestly ordination this June. We ask that everyone please pray that his ordination will not be marred by protesters; either fundamentalists who feel that he betrayed their version of Christianity or women’s ordination/married priest promoters.

Deacon Daniel Serbicki

Dan Serbicki is a young man who has lived in both the Diocese of Rochester and Buffalo. Though he is a member of Brockport’s Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Serbicki made a personal decision to pursue ordination in the Diocese of Buffalo. Deacon Serbicki has been preparing for the priesthood through seminary study and formation since 2005, and will be ordained for service at the Lord’s altar in June. His ordination is scheduled for Saturday, June 4th at 10 AM at St. Joseph Cathedral in Buffalo. I hope that a large number of Rochesterians will make the thruway trip to support Mr. Serbicki and celebrate this big day. Church of the Nativity was arranging a bus trip for the ordination should anyone be interested, though that may have already filled up.

Congratulations to Deacons Caton and Serbicki. These two solid, orthodox men will soon be carrying out the Lord’s work!

Rosary for Priestly Vocations – May 3, 7:30PM, at St. Anne Church

May 2nd, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

As a few readers have reminded us, there will be a Rosary for Priestly Vocations at St. Anne Church on Tuesday, May 3rd, at 7:30 PM. The last one was a stunningly beautiful event, with a well-trained fleet of altar boys, a wonderful schola, and even a Knights of Columbus color guard. Please do your best to attend this upcoming event, the theme of which is “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” What more appropriate theme could there be, when praying for vocations to our diocesan priesthood?

Fr. Jack Healy, OCarm. will be presiding at this prayer service.

Do Beautiful Churches Produce Vocations?

March 26th, 2011, Promulgated by Bernie

Thank you to reader Christopher for bringing Fr. Longenecker’s blog post to my attention.

From Standing on My Head Thursday, March 24, 2011

I know a young priest who was brought up as a Baptist. He went into a beautiful old Catholic Church during the liturgy. This was a classic neo-Gothic church with stained glass windows and a beautiful liturgy. He fell to his knees and said that he knew then and there that he not only needed to be a Catholic, but that he was called to be a Catholic priest. He’s not the only one. I know two other guys who…

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Here is a follow-up posting from Joe @ Defend Us In Battle blog.

…if we can inspire people in the Faith, then it would follow that we can inspire people to the Faith, in terms of vocations. It would make sense that a person inspired by the house of God, in the form of a Church, would be inspired to devote their life – a gift from God, back to God in the form of Ordination …

Read more

Support your local priests!

March 11th, 2011, Promulgated by Bernie

From Outside the Asylum:

by Anthony S. Layne

Indeed. At first glance, this would appear to be a serious body-blow to the morale of the Philly presbytery. But then again, there must be those among that same presbytery who regard the suspension as a good and necessary thing, who are frustrated not because so many heads have been whacked off at one time but because it took so long for the chancery to pull its finger out.

The actual damage to the priesthood wasn’t a product of the scandals themselves; that is, it wasn’t done by the public revelation of chancery efforts to hide criminous priests. In many dioceses, the priests themselves have known for years about … 

Read the entire blog posting here.