January 31, 2020

Initiative will have local Catholics praying around the clock for vocations

A woman prays before the Blessed Sacrament on May 30, 2019, at the Divine Mercy Perpetual Adoration Chapel at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Indianapolis. Beginning on Feb. 2, people in perpetual adoration chapels around the archdiocese will pray rosaries around the clock for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

A woman prays before the Blessed Sacrament on May 30, 2019, at the Divine Mercy Perpetual Adoration Chapel at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Indianapolis. Beginning on Feb. 2, people in perpetual adoration chapels around the archdiocese will pray rosaries around the clock for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Sean Gallagher

Promoting priestly and religious vocations is a key aspect of the life of the Church in central and southern Indiana.

That’s one of the reasons why last fall Archbishop Charles C. Thompson appointed Father Michael Keucher as archdiocesan vocations director and five priests across the archdiocese to assist him as associate vocations directors.

But Father Keucher knows that even this added support is not enough.

Where, then, did he turn for support?

The 14 perpetual adoration chapels across central and southern Indiana, which he describes as “powerhouses for vocations.”

Starting on Feb. 2, with the support of the pastors of those parishes, there will be at least two people praying a rosary for vocations 24 hours per day, seven days per week in archdiocesan perpetual adoration chapels.

(Related: Adoration chapel vocations prayer assignments by day of the week)

“Think about all the miracles that have come to this world by way of the rosary and because people have spent time in front of Jesus,” says Father Keucher, who is also pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Shelbyville and sacramental minister of St. Vincent De Paul Parish in Shelby County. “You put all of that together and I just think that the Lord has something good in mind here.”

With 14 perpetual adoration chapels in the archdiocese, two will be assigned to a day of the week and every person who takes an hour in those chapels on those days will pray a rosary for vocations during their time before the Blessed Sacrament.

“Our chapels have a contemplative nature about them—and they should,” says Father Keucher. “But maybe this rosary campaign in our chapels will help us to realize that our chapels also have an apostolic nature.”

He also hopes that the prayer for vocations initiative will spread.

“As we keep going, I think we need to have more holy hours for vocations across the archdiocese, even in places that don’t have perpetual adoration chapels,” Father Keucher says.

To help with this, the archdiocesan vocations office has developed a pamphlet that will help people meditate on the mysteries of the rosary in light of vocations.

Father Francis Joseph Kalapurackal, pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in Mooresville, which has a perpetual adoration chapel, is confident in the power of this initiative.

It’s an absolutely wonderful move,” he says. “When people kneel in the presence of the Lord, that’s when vocations arise.”

He shares Father Keucher’s desire to see more holy hours for vocations in archdiocesan parishes. But Father Kalapurackal wants the initiative extended even further.

“The domestic Church, the family, should begin praying for vocations,” he says. “This effort of having people in every chapel praying … will invite more people to storm heaven for such an important cause for us at this time for the Church. Priests are so much in need.”

Marilyn Ross, a member of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood, is encouraged by the new prayer initiative. She and a small group of Catholics have gathered weekly for several years at her parish’s perpetual adoration chapel for a holy hour for vocations.

She’s glad that many more people across central and southern Indiana will join her and her group in this spiritual effort.

“This is a positive way for us to do something to help our struggling Church right now, especially in the U.S.,” Ross says. “It’s easy for people to stand around, criticize and feel helpless. But this is a very positive step that we can take to help our Church move forward in the mission that Christ has given her. We’re all part of that mission.”

(For more information about vocations to the priesthood and religious life in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, visit www.HearGodsCall.com.)

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