This Sunday is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. I hope that we are all aware of the very serious need for more vocations to the priesthood. There is also a crisis among the religious communities for new members to continue the ministry that they have done for so many centuries. Although it is not as much of a crisis, there is a need within the Church for vocations to the Permanent Diaconate.
The need for priests is very obvious today. We only have to look at the situation in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to see how critical that need is. They are in the process of “yoking” four or five parishes together under a single pastor and joining their offices and ministries into one. In a few years, a significant number of parishes will be closed, because there will not be enough priests to do Mass each week.
The Diocese of Covington is not in as much of a crisis as Cincinnati YET! But we are not far behind them in having to come up with creative solutions to the priest shortage.
In Matthew 9:37-38 we hear Jesus say, “The harvest is rich, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray earnestly to the harvest master to send out laborers into his fields.” I do not believe that Jesus is referring to only priests. There are other laborers that are needed, in addition to priests. But you do need priests to celebrate Mass and the other sacraments that are at the heart of our Catholic life.
So prayer is one of the most important ways of seeking vocations. Fr. Conor Kunath, who is the Vocation Director of the Diocese of Covington, is asking that every member of our diocese pray the Memorare every day for vocations. This is an ancient prayer to Mary that goes:
“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.”
We will begin using this prayer at Masses, replacing the Hail Mary, Glory Be, and Prayer to St. Michael that we currently pray at the end of our petitions.
Pray for vocations to these various ministries, especially within the diocese and our parish. Also pray for vocations from within your family and encourage the young men to consider the priesthood and the young women to consider the religious life.
–Fr. Mike Comer