Vocations and Prayer
Today is Vocations Sunday when we reflect on the fact that Our Lord is in fact calling many men to the priesthood, and many men and women to the religious life. Without priests there is no Mass, and apart from Baptism, which in an emergency anyone may administer, there are no Sacraments. There is no forgiveness of sins in the Sacrament of Penance, there is no Anointing for the Sick and the Dying. For Christ’s Church to function there have to be priests. But as we all know we have a severe lack of priests and religious in the Church today. This cannot be God’s Will. But as older priests die they are not being replaced, which has already resulted in the closure of many churches and amalgamation of parishes. And what a rare sight it is today to see a nun in the street. So what are we to do?
Our Lord told us what to do. “Pray to the Lord of the harvest, that He send labourers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:38). In other words we have to pray for vocations and we have to pray very hard. Where there are vocations, it is a sign that there has been much prayer. Where there are no vocations it is a sign that prayer has been lacking, or at the very least, there has not been enough of it. We can do all the promotion and advertising imaginable, but without prayer there will be no fruits. St Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “The most important hours for my communities are the four hours of community prayers each day.” And the result is plentiful vocations.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century in this country, a woman spent an hour a day in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament that just one of her ten children would consecrate themselves to God. After some years, nine of them became consecrated religious and the tenth became the famous Victorian Cardinal, Nicholas Wiseman.
Bishop Patrick is urging us to pray constantly for vocations in this diocese. We already have our Prayer for Vocations which we kneel and recite at all Sunday Masses and I know some of you pray it at home too which is very encouraging. The children at St Mary’s School are also going to pray it daily. I would like to propose something further; that we make a Holy Hour in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament every first Thursday of the month between 7 and 8pm where we pray for vocations from THIS parish. The first will take place on Thursday 6th June. Offer the Rosary for this intention too. Being the Mother of JESUS, Mary has a special relationship with priests who are “other Christs”. I hope as many of you as possible will join with us in this initiative for the future of the Church. Mary Queen of the Clergy, pray for us!
Fr Paul Gillham, IC