By Anne Marie Amacher
Parishioners throughout the Diocese of Davenport will have two opportunities to pray for vocations throughout the year.
The first will be May 3 as part of World Day of Prayer for Vocations. The second will be through 24 holy hours of prayer, which will be held in all deaneries (regions) throughout the upcoming year, says Father Marty Goetz, director of vocations for the diocese.
The World Day of Prayer for Vocations is celebrated the fourth Sunday of Easter — which is Good Shepherd Sunday, he said. It was instituted by Pope Paul VI in 1963.
Fr. Goetz said resources for parishes and families are available on the diocesan Web site www.davenportdiocese.org. Click on offices, then vocations. All resources are available in English and Spanish.
He said parish resources include suggestions for a prayer service, homily and prayers during Mass. The family resource includes several projects and ideas for home use. These include making a family votive candle, creating a vocation prayer, conversation starters and a word scramble. The sheet also suggests families visit a seminary or religious community. Families also are encouraged to contact a priest, deacon or religious Sister to thank them for their service either through a letter, personal conversation or by inviting the person to the family’s home.
The other component of the diocese’s effort is the 24 holy hours of prayer for vocations, whether to the priesthood, religious life, diaconate, married life or single life.
“There will be four (prayer services) in each of the six deaneries,” Fr. Goetz said. Dates, times and places have been set for 16 of the holy hours of prayer. Several other parishes are scheduled to hold a holy hour, but dates and times have not been confirmed.
The holy hour of prayer is designed to “bring awareness of the need to pray for vocations, whatever vocation that might be,” he said.
Pope John Paul II “had the idea to ask people to pray for priests since they benefit the church,” Fr. Goetz added.
Each of the holy hours services will begin with an hour of adoration in front of the Eucharist, followed by a litany for vocations that includes the litany of saints. There will be quiet time for prayer, followed by the rosary for vocations, more quiet time and benediction.
“My hope is that the churches will be filled. It’s that important,” Fr. Goetz said.
Bishop Gerald Kicanas of the Diocese of Tucson, Ariz., who spoke at the Davenport Diocese’s convocation for priests last month, said the church is more than its priests. But the Catholic Church cannot exist without priests because of the Eucharist.
“We do need to pray that the Lord sends us many more vocations,” Fr. Goetz said. “But we are focused on a future with hope.”
Schedule of holy hours of prayer for vocations
May 7 at St. Mary Parish, Riverside, 7 p.m.
May 18 All Saints Parish, Keokuk, 7 p.m.
May 19 St. Mary Parish, Fairfield, 6:30 p.m. Mass, 7 p.m. holy hour
May 20 St. John Vianney Parish, Bettendorf, 10:30 a.m.
May 21 St. John Vianney Parish, Bettendorf, 7 p.m.
May 28 St. Patrick Parish, Ottumwa, 7 p.m.
June 4 St. Mary Parish, Iowa City, 7 p.m.
June 11 Holy Family Parish, Fort Madison, 7 p.m.
June 15 St. Mary Parish, Albia, 11 a.m.
June 16 St. Mary Parish, Solon, 7 p.m.
June 18 St. Mary Parish, Williamsburg, 7 p.m.
July 8 Holy Trinity Parish, Keota, 7 p.m.
July 21 Ss. Mary & Patrick Parish, West Burlington, 7 p.m.
July 23 St. Mary Parish, Grinnell, 7 p.m.
August 6 St. Alphonsus Parish, Mount Pleasant, 7 p.m.
August 19 Sacred Heart Parish, Newton, 7 p.m.
September 2 St. Ann Parish, Long Grove, 7 p.m.
September 17 Prince of Peace Parish, TBA
St. Joseph Parish, DeWitt, TBA
Church of the Visitation Parish, Camanche, TBA
Assumption & St. Patrick Parish, Charlotte, TBA
Christ the King Chapel, St. Ambrose University, Davenport, TBA
Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish, Muscatine, TBA
St. Mary Parish, Oskaloosa, TBA
St. Anthony Parish, Knoxville, TBA