December 7, 2012

Holy hour includes prayers for vocations in archdiocese

St. Simon the Apostle parishioner and Archdiocesan Youth Council member Annie Fleming of Indianapolis, left, prays the rosary with Our Lady of the Greenwood parishioners Bridget Bard, center, and Corina Defenderfer, right, of Greenwood during a holy hour for vocations to the priesthood and religious life on Dec. 1 at Our Lady of the Greenwood Church. They helped the archdiocesan seminarians lead the gathering of youths, young adults, adults, and men and women religious as part of “A Mission of Prayer—A Year of Faith with Archbishop [Joseph W.] Tobin” at the Indianapolis South Deanery parish. (Photo by Mary Ann Garber)

St. Simon the Apostle parishioner and Archdiocesan Youth Council member Annie Fleming of Indianapolis, left, prays the rosary with Our Lady of the Greenwood parishioners Bridget Bard, center, and Corina Defenderfer, right, of Greenwood during a holy hour for vocations to the priesthood and religious life on Dec. 1 at Our Lady of the Greenwood Church. They helped the archdiocesan seminarians lead the gathering of youths, young adults, adults, and men and women religious as part of “A Mission of Prayer—A Year of Faith with Archbishop [Joseph W.] Tobin” at the Indianapolis South Deanery parish. (Photo by Mary Ann Garber)

By Mary Ann Garber

GREENWOOD—Heads bowed in prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, archdiocesan seminarians prayed for vocations to the priesthood and religious life on Dec. 1 at Our Lady of the Greenwood Church.

As part of “A Mission of Prayer—A Year of Faith with Archbishop [Joseph W.] Tobin,” the seminarians joined other Catholic young adults as well as youths, adults, and men and women religious for an 11 a.m. holy hour to pray for God’s blessings on vocations in the Church in central and southern Indiana. (See more photos from this event)

After leading the Angelus at noon, Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, apostolic administrator, delivered a brief reflection on the Blessed Mother.

“Mary was more blessed with her discipleship than blessed with her motherhood,” Bishop Coyne said. “In her discipleship, she is living out the message of Christ.”

The Blessed Mother, “in her discipleship, always points us to Christ,” Bishop Coyne said. “It is in hearing his words, it is in receiving him [and] it is in being silent with him that we find our salvation. She knows that. She points us toward him. … She made [discipleship] her own in the way that she lived her life in obedience to God and in obedience to her Son.”

To be a disciple, he said, “is to be disciplined to the teacher, to hear the teacher’s voice, to know the teacher’s will and to do that. To be a disciple is to know Mary’s Son, Christ, and to do his will—and in doing so, to glorify God.”

Study the Gospels in order to grow closer to Christ, Bishop Coyne said. “Every time that I read the Gospels, there’s something new that I haven’t seen before—some little detail, some little point—something that’s there that tells me more about the man and the God that I seek to serve and I seek to be a disciple of.”

Prayer allows us to grow in our faith as a disciple, he said. “… Through Mary, the Word was made flesh. Through her as the handmaid of the Lord, she sought to do the will of the Lord. [Through] all those things that are part of her life—that in honoring her and remembering her—we also grow [closer] to her Son.”

Christ’s presence in the world today is made manifest in the holy Catholic Church, Bishop Coyne said. “When we listen to the teaching of the Church, … when we read it, when we are instructed by it, we open ourselves to the possibility of being led by the Church to grow in God’s love.

“All those things help us to be men and women who come to know more deeply the love of Christ,” he said. “… The words of Scripture, the prayers of the Church and the teaching of our faith, all those things, help us to live as good disciples under the discipline of the teacher, … [who] seeks to bring us more deeply to him so that we may come to be people who spread the Good News wherever we go that Jesus is Lord.”

During the holy hour organized by the archdiocese and seminarians, Father Eric Johnson, archdiocesan director of vocations, reflected on a Scripture passage from the Gospel of St. Matthew about how the harvest is plentiful, but laborers are few so we must pray for more laborers (Mt 9:36-38).

“All of us are called by God to know and love and serve [him],” Father Johnson said. “Part of our role as a Christian community—and as people who strive to be faithful disciples of Christ—is to open our hearts to the ways in which God calls each one of us, and to respond with generosity because of the great generosity that God has given to us.”

Jesus is calling us, he said, to offer our lives in loving service to others.

“How is God calling us at this moment—with the people that surround us—to love and to serve him?” Father Johnson asked. “How are we called concretely to recognize the gift in those that surround us, to nurture that gift, to hold up that gift, to lift up that gift? … Those gifts make all of us a little bit more holy and a little bit more fully what we are called to be.

“It is our generosity in trying to love concretely the person in front of us that allows us to fulfill our vocation in life,” he said, “whatever it is, whatever path it is, that that particular vocation leads us in.”

St. Matthew’s Gospel reading reminds us “to be concerned for the harvest,” Father Johnson said, “and to be concerned for the leadership and the ministry within the Church.”

The health of the Church’s priesthood and religious life is a concern for all of us, he said, and we must pray daily for an increase in vocations.

“The Church needs good, holy, healthy and happy priests and religious brothers and sisters,” Father Johnson said. “… The more that you and I bring vocations in the Church into our prayers—the more that it becomes a value to us, the more that it becomes a value to the community of this archdiocese—the more you and I help to build a culture which invites and encourages men and women to offer their lives in service to the Church.”

As Catholics, we are grateful for the many gifts that God has bestowed on us in the priests and religious who have served us, he said. “We also come here today to remember Archbishop Tobin as he prepares to be installed as our next archbishop. As we do that, we implore God to send us more vocations—to send more laborers into the harvest—so that God’s life and mystery and his sacraments, and our own gifts can be brought more fully into what it is that God desires from each one of us.”

As a community of faith, God calls us “to be an image and witness of his joy, his life, his salvation and his hope in a world that needs to see those things,” Father Johnson said. “So let us pray to the harvest master … in thanksgiving for all that we have received, and pray that God continues to pour out his blessings upon his Church through the ministry of priests and religious brothers and sisters.” †

 

(Click here to more stories, photos and videos from the installation Mass)

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