Is Everyone's Business No One's Business?
May 24, 2017
A practical way in which we are experiencing the effect of the shortage of priests is in the less than ideal weekend Mass schedule that we have between Resurrection and St. Mary Parishes. Many other parishes in our Diocese are in the same boat.
Most of us acknowledge that we need more priests. Let’s look at how we might respond to this challenge. From His side, the Lord always provides the number of priests that are needed for the Church at any particular time.
Nurturing the seeds of priestly vocations that the Lord is planting falls to us.
Whether or not the Lord has planted the seed for a vocation to the priesthood in a member of our family, we can all do our part to promote priestly vocations. This happens as allow the gift of the Lord’s Friendship to be the top priority in our lives. Our friendship with the Lord is deepened and strengthened by our on-going participation at Mass and in our receiving the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a regular frequent basis. In the situation of a serious illness or accident, most of us would value the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Each of these above-mentioned situations require the presence and ministry of a priest.
As we develop, we are attracted to that which excites our parents and other caring adults. If as parents, parishioners and adults our friendship with the Lord is only one of a number of coals that we have in the fire of our devotion, this will take its toll on the number of priestly vocations that develop.
As we allow the Lord’s priorities to become our own priorities, we will want to pray faithfully for priestly vocations. When we pray earnestly for something that is in accord with the Lord’s will, we also need to ask for what is needed to grasp and to adequately respond to what the Lord wants to give us. Let’s say, for an example, that you are in a marriage in which you and your spouse are blessed with two daughters and a son. Imagine that your son envisioned or considered the possibility of serving as a priest. Would you support and encourage him along this line? Some persons would discourage an only son from seriously considering the priesthood because they hope that that only son will want to marry and thus perpetuate the family name. Many persons want more priests, but not when this comes from one’s own family.
We can do our part to promote priestly vocations as we encourage a man in whom we see the potential for serving the Church and the human community in this way to explore the priesthood. Priestly vocations develop and thrive through the support of many, including family and friends, the parish and persons in the school and work communities. Apart from the support of the people of St. John Parish in Delphos, I would not have had what it takes to persevere on the journey to the priesthood.
As priests, we do not come down from heaven. We come from families who have their ups and downs. As priests, we have our strengths and weaknesses. If only as individuals and as faith communities we are willing to give the Lord an inch in regard to encouraging men to consider the priesthood, God would provide from our midst more priests than we can now envision or imagine. Our prayerful support and encouragement along this line need to be on-going.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Nelson Beaver – Pastor