“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.” (Jer 1:5)
Yesterday afternoon, at St. James the Less in Highland, the priests of the Diocese of Gary gathered together to celebrate our ordination anniversaries. Hallmark anniversaries (25, 40, 50, 60, and beyond) were especially noted. We do this every year as summer approaches and, with it, the time of our anniversaries.
Most people hear “anniversary” and immediately think marriage. However, anniversary applies to a great many things and people. There are those who celebrate the anniversary of their employment, their school graduations, and the like. Anniversaries are big deals as they mark the passage of time and the accomplishments and/or changes that have gone on in people’s lives.
Priests come in all “shapes and sizes.” Some come from very studied backgrounds, others from more simple ones. Some may come from a lot of money, others from nothing. All, however, heard the call of God and had the grace to respond. Their lives have not always been easy; yet, they remain faithful to God and continue to proclaim the Good News to their people.
The number of priests are getting less and less. As we gather together, we see more elderly, soon-to-be-retired, and retired priests. They are getting close to outnumbering the active clergy. That can be a bit disillusioning to those still working in the fields. As we look around us, we begin to wonder and worry about who will be around when we leave active ministry as well.
This would be a good time to ask you to pray for an increase in Church vocations. However, that is a bit passive. We need you to be active as well.
Encourage people to consider the priesthood or religious life. Encourage family members, even, to consider the call. I have heard so many people say, “Not my son. I want him to be successful and make a lot of money.” Do not be selfish. If God is calling someone to the priesthood or religious life, we should not stand in the way of that call.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for all priests as they celebrate another year of active service to the people of God. Ask God to give them the grace that they need to continue faithfully in their vocation.