Dear Parishioners & Visitors,
"Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, 'What are you looking for?'They said to him, 'Rabbi, where are you staying?' He said to them, 'Come, and you will see.' So they; went and saw where Jesus was staying, and they stayed with him that day."
Vocations to the priesthood and religious life are fundamental to the healthy development and future of the Church in the United States. Sadly, we are presently encountering a crisis. Though we in our parish do not experience the brunt of this situation, we have to look into the future and ask ourselves: what are we doing in order to secure the proper ministerial assistance for our parish community?
Vocations can not only be a concern for bishops and provincials. Vocations are born and fostered in the safe space of our families. It is the parental invitation that plants the seeds of vocations in the hearts of the younger generation. Parental encouragement is fundamental. The parents within our communities need to question themselves: how would I react if one of my children wanted to become a priest or religious? Sadly, I believe that for some parents it is more important to create an attitude which encourages success and status in the minds of their children. In my experience, I have encountered a number of young men who were afraid to pose to their parents a question regarding a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. There is a fear of disappointing them; of not fulfilling their expectations. Is this the attitude prevailing within our families? Though it is always important to encourage our children to be their best in preparing for their future, this should never preclude the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood or religious life.
Young Samuel in this Sunday's first reading was unable to recognize the voice of God. It took the advice of Eli, who played a parental role in his life, to help him recognize the call as the call from God. Only then was he able to respond and accept the call. It is primarily the role of the parents to teach their children to discern the voice of God in their lives. We live in a world where the voices are many and confusing and many of them do not attempt to lead us to love and serve God. The parents, as the first teachers of their children, play a unique and privileged role in the religious formation of their children.
It is also important to realize the power of prayer regarding vocations. We, as a parish community, need to constantly pray for vocations. Jesus himself told his disciples to pray to the Father for more workers for the harvest. Our prayers pave the way for more vocations. Our prayers united to the intercession of the Blessed Mother will help us foster and support more vocations within the hearts of our families.
-fr. Alberto Rodriguez, 0.P.