June 19, 2009


The 2009-10 Year for Priests

It starts today, and it continues for the next 365 days.

June 19, 2009, to June 19, 2010, has been designated the Year for Priests by Pope Benedict XVI. It will recognize the variety of pastoral work performed by priests and the witness of their lives, said Cardinal Claudio Hummes, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy.

Addressing Italian bishops on May 28, Pope Benedict said the year should help priests “rediscover the grace and goal of priestly ministry.”

The Holy Father has chosen to begin the Year for Priests on the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, a day of sanctification of all priests. The pope also designated St. John Vianney as the universal patron of all priests on the 150th anniversary of the saint’s death. The saint, who is also known as the Cure of Ars, is the patron of parish priests.

What can we do during the next year?

Pray for our parish priests and all priests throughout the world.

Pray, as the Holy Father said, that those who serve as priests will “rediscover the grace and goal of priestly ministry.”

Pray, as St. John Vianney said, that for each and every priest, “The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus.”

Just as important, make the time during the next 12 months to thank your parish priest or priests for their gift of ministry.

Think about it: These are all things that we should be doing on a regular basis.

Now, thanks to our Holy Father, we can use the next 365 days—and make it a regular practice in the future—to do just that.

—Mike Krokos

Prayers for vocations bear more fruit in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis

As the presiding priest invited the people attending Mass to add their intentions during the Prayers of the Faithful, an elderly man offered prayers for priests, seminarians, deacons and all people serving in religious life.

A young woman next offered prayers for more vocations to the Church.

There is a good chance that scene plays out in churches throughout the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and the world each day.

If you are a person in tune with your faith, you know how important it is to pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

Here in the archdiocese, our prayers continue to bear fruit.

Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein ordained Fathers Jeremy Gries, John Hollowell and Peter Marshall to the priesthood on June 6, and he will ordain transitional deacons Sean Danda and Christopher Wadelton as priests on June 27 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. This represents the largest priesthood ordination class for the archdiocese since 2002, when eight men were ordained priests.

The number of priests serving in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in 2008, according to The Official Catholic Directory, was 244. Of those, 148 were diocesan priests and 96 were priests from religious orders.

Those numbers make up only a fraction of the more than 408,000 men serving as priests around the world.

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, in its annual survey of incoming priests, tabulated some eye-opening statistics when it asked soon-to-be priests about their vocations.

Of this year’s class of ordinands, the youngest age that a new priest first considered the priesthood was age 4. The oldest was at age 59. The average age was 16.

Of the ordinands who responded to the CARA survey, 85 percent said a priest was among those people who encouraged them to consider a religious vocation.

Fifty-three percent said a friend also encouraged them to think about the priesthood, and 42 percent said a parishioner also planted the vocation seed.

Other influences on the ordinands’ discernment process included Web sites (17 percent), pamphlets (13 percent), magazine advertisements (13 percent), posters (12 percent) and newsletters (10 percent).

Who said the World Wide Web and other forms of communication couldn’t be used as tools for vocations?

As Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, said, “The Lord planted the seeds of their vocations, and the surrounding community helped them grow.”

Make no mistake: Our prayers are making a difference.

May the seeds that are planted continue to bear fruit.

—Mike Krokos

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