To the Editor:
I recently had the privilege to attend a Project Andrew dinner, and I thought it was really neat to meet with our priests. They joyfully explained their journeys and answered our questions, giving us an unfiltered, genuine look at the vocation of the priesthood. I left the evening thankful for the experience, and I noted the stark difference between this event and secular culture’s narrative.
I think we, as a diocese, need to be more proactive in pushing back against the secular narrative. Hopefully, increased efforts will counter the “stigma” and ensure that potential candidates understand that the entire church is backing them — they’re not strange, they’re not on an island, and vocational discernment is a normal, necessary undertaking.
I’m going to make the bold request that a vocation prayer be prayed at each Mass in the diocese by the entire congregation. My hope is that this prayer will be prayed for all priests, religious, novices and seminarians and all those discerning their vocation (especially to the priesthood, but also to vocations of marriage, religious orders and the generous single life). In addition, I’d like to request that these groups are included in the general intentions in each Mass.
I know this is asking a lot, but I think we need to be aggressive. With the upcoming priest retirements, I think it’s more important than ever to redouble our efforts and prayers for vocational discernment and especially for more vocations to the priesthood. Hopefully, our prayers will lead to more Project Andrew encounters and a surplus of vocations.