One topic Bishop Loverde made note of is vocations. He challenged the students to listen carefully to God’s call. He said he had no doubt that at least one of them would be called to the priesthood or to religious life. Then he turned to us parents and said we should make our prayer for vocations a bit more personal. Instead of just praying for vocations in general, we need to pray that if it be God’s will, one of our own children will hear the call to a religious vocation. That is a bit harder, isn’t it? Yet parental support for vocations is critical in allowing young people to respond to the call.
Argent offers a link to a very good talk about the role of Catholic families in nurturing vocations:
Catholic families need priests: to baptise their children, to provide Mass, to teach the faith (and enable catechists to do so). Priests come from families and good Catholic families are well-placed to provide the environment where a vocation from God can be listened to and followed. Plenty of priests come from non-Catholic or non-practising families but parents who love their Catholic faith often say how delighted they would be if one of their sons were to become a priest.
We must also care for the priests we have. The Vatican has launched a campaign of prayer for the spiritual revival among the world’s clergy.
The Vatican directive-- signed by Cardinal Claudio Hummes and Archbishop Mauro Piacenza: the prefect and secretary, respectively, of the Congregation for Clergy-- explains:
In order to continually maintain a greater awareness of the ontological link between the Eucharist and the Priesthood, and in order to recognize the special maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary for each Priest, it is our intention to bring about a connection between perpetual Eucharistic adoration for the reparation of faults and sanctification of priests.
The letter from the Congregation for Clergy is dated December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. In explaining their plan, Cardinal Hummes and Archbishop Piacenza make it clear that this was no coincidence, saying that the "intend in a very particular way to entrust all Priests to Mary, the Mother of the High and Eternal Priest."
During these very busy Advent and Christmas seasons, do not forget to offer prayers for your parish priests. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will guide their words and actions as they face the increased demands of the holiday. They will be the images of the Catholic Church that many lapsed Catholics see on Christmas Day. May the Holy Spirit inspire these shepherds to effectively reach out to these lost sheep.
Imagine this Christmas without a priest—without the Eucharist. Make sure you take time to thank your parish priest for his service. Encourage him in his ministry. Pray for all priests and religious. And pray that many others, including your own children, will consider the possibility that they are called to serve in a religious vocation.