February 29, 2008


Got a minute? Make time to pray for vocations every day

“Vocations to the ministerial priesthood and to the consecrated life can only flourish in a spiritual soil that is well cultivated.”

— Pope Benedict XVI in his message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which will be observed on April 13 in most countries. The 2008 theme is “Vocations at the Service of the Church on Mission.”

The request has come dozens of times—maybe more—if you stop and think about it.

It may have been a priest at your parish who asked.

Or a visiting priest or religious from mission territory.

Or here in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, the request may have come from Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein himself.

How many times have you been asked to pray for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life?

In a world where we take so much for granted—a roof over our heads, a living wage that helps put food on the table and a loving family, among other things for most of us—our faith empowers followers of Christ to do much with the gifts that our Creator has given to each of us.

What bigger gift can we offer to others than our gift of prayer?

While people of faith take to heart Lent’s message of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, what prevents us from taking a moment each day, outside the Lenten season, to offer a prayer for vocations?

It would be so simple, we have heard priests or religious tell us on occasion. As people of faith, why not make time each day to pray a Hail Mary or another simple petition for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life?

The question we should be asking ourselves this Lenten season and beyond is how many times have we followed through on that simple request? And why, with apologies to Nike and its advertising catchphrase, can’t we “Just Do It?”

In his message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which will be observed on April 13 in most countries, Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that parish communities with a real sense of obligation to spread the Gospel are places where vocations to be priests and religious, including as missionaries, thrive.

“There have always been in the Church many men and women who, prompted by the action of the Holy Spirit, choose to live the Gospel in a radical way, professing the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience,” he said.

Pope Benedict said that those on the front lines of the Church’s work in missionary territories almost always are the priests and religious women and men who consecrate their whole lives to serving God and humanity.

Look around the archdiocese. Where are seeds of vocations being planted and flourishing? In parishes with “spiritual soil,” as our Holy Father puts it.

Churches that have perpetual adoration like Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood, where individuals are committed to praying for vocations, can see their petitions bearing fruit. There are currently six men from the parish at either Saint Meinrad School of Theology in St. Meinrad or the Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary at Marian College in Indianapolis studying for the priesthood. Other members of the parish have in recent years entered religious orders or are currently discussing a call to consecrated life.

While the Holy Father’s 2008 vocations message includes a special focus on the missionary aspect of our Church and a reminder that all Christians have an obligation to support missionaries materially and with our prayers, he reminds us that we must also pray for more vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

Don’t let anyone tell you differently: Prayer makes a difference.

What’s stopping you?

“Hail Mary, full of grace ...”

—Mike Krokos

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