Print Edition: March 8, 2015
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BY Joseph PronechenRegister Staff Writer
— On Jan. 1, 2005, the Diocese of Springfield, Mass., initiated adoration for
vocations in a chapel at Christ the King parish in Ludlow. The
350 people who signed up for 24-7 adoration were asked to pray specifically for
“When we started that program we had
seven seminarians. Today we have 25,” said diocesan vocation director Father
Gary Dailey. And four women have entered religious life. “I attribute our
increase to the power of prayer in the adoration chapel.”
for vocations does produce such results, some new initiatives to foster prayer
for vocations are beginning, and already established programs remain strong.
effort is the St. Michael Prayer Warriors in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
According to archdiocesan vocation director Father Kyle
Schnippel, whose office is initiating this apostolate,
it will be launched in September at its Call of the King Conference. But many
individuals have already signed on.
The apostolate asks laity to pray at
least one hour a month before the Blessed Sacrament for their archbishop and
priests and for an increase in vocations to priesthood and religious life.
Father Schnippel explained that while originally
envisioned to be hours of Eucharistic adoration, St. Michael Prayer Warriors is
flexible. Any group in a parish can pray together, and “it’s designed so it can
be very easily used in families as well,” he stressed.
get direction and prayer suggestions from the apostolate’s electronic
newsletter, such as invoking the intercession of the Blessed
Virgin Mary, Mother of Priests. The vocation office offers Holy
Hour programs with Scripture readings and Rosary meditations connected to
vocations, adaptable for praying before the Eucharist or in the family setting.
“It’s not just
one set hour of prayer, but also fasting and almsgiving that does it,” Father
fast for July was driving without air-conditioning and offering the suffering
for the holiness of others. Another was for families to turn the TV off one
night a week and spend time together praying the Rosary.
suggested almsgiving was a gas card for the pastor to use to visit the sick.
Another was to give young people considering a religious vocation
Catholic books and materials to help them discern.
Explaining the name of the apostolate, Father
Schnippel said, “We wanted to have that conscious
image of a strong character fighting the battle of faith, so we chose St. Michael the Archangel. He is the prince of
the heavenly host, and we invoke his protection and guidance in the mandate to
pray and to fight against the evil one in our world today.”
So good was
the initial response, that the vocations office has sent information to the
National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors in hopes of seeing this
apostolate spread throughout the country.
prayer are of the utmost importance, according to Father David Toups, associate
director of the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and
Vocations at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He pointed out the Dec.
8, 2007 letter from the Holy See’s Congregation for the Clergy and signed by
its prefect, Cardinal Claudio Hummes. Titled “Eucharistic Adoration for the
Sanctification of Priests and Spiritual Maternity,” it calls for perpetual adoration
in every diocese worldwide.
The letter explains the intention of
entrusting all priests to the Blessed Mother, the model of spiritual maternity,
and calls for “a movement of prayer, placing 24-hour continuous Eucharistic
adoration at the center so that a prayer of adoration, thanksgiving, praise,
petition and reparation will be raised to God”— with the primary intention of
awakening vocations to the priesthood.
Any woman, religious or lay, young
or old, married or single, can become a spiritual mother praying for priests
and vocations. The letter offers inspiring examples of spiritual motherhood,
from saintly sisters (including St. Thérèse of Lisieux) to the story of the
tiny rural village of Lu in northern Italy.
There, in 1881, mothers met one day
a week to pray at adoration for vocations in their families. They received
Communion on the first Sunday of every month for that intention. By 1946, 323
vocations —152 priests and 171 nuns — came from that village.
Father Toups said that Pope Benedict
XVI, during his recent trip to the United States, “mentioned specifically the
need to teach our young children how to pray, for unless they know the voice of
the Good Shepherd through prayer, they will never be able to hear him calling
them to a particular vocation in the Church.
“A starting point is helping our
young people become disciples, to be young men and women of prayer to hear the
call God has for their life,” said Father Toups. He added that the traveling
monstrance blessed by Pope John Paul II for adoration for vocations is a proven
“The program was supposed to go on
for a year but obviously it’s three years now,” said Anne McCormack of the USA Council of Serra International.
coordinated scheduling of the monstrance for the USCCB to dioceses requesting
it since the program began in 2005. To date, the monstrance has
traveled over 120,000 miles to 88 dioceses in the continental United
The Archdiocese of Detroit welcomed
the monstrance in 2006 and again in May 2008. “We feel prayer before the
Blessed Sacrament is very central in promoting vocations and opening hearts and
minds to God’s call,” said diocesan vocations coordinator Jan DeFour. As for
noticeable results, she said, “This fall we will have 13 new men studying for
the archdiocese. This will be one of the largest incoming classes in many
Some dioceses have their own
traveling monstrance. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has the very last monstrance
to be blessed by John Paul II for this purpose. Dick and Terry Boldin head the
Rosary Evangelization Apostolate, the official custodian of this monstrance
under the guidance of Archbishop Timothy Dolan. More than 30,000 hours of
adoration have been logged since October 2005.
“Seminarians numbers were very low then,” Dick
Boldin said. “We’re now in the 30 range. And devotion to the Blessed Mother has
increased.” Next spring, six new priests will be ordained.
These monstrances blessed by John
Paul II originally came from Adoration for Vocations, a worldwide campaign
sponsored by Vocation.com. David Craig, a regional head for the website in
Connecticut, explained how the group gave John Paul 160 monstrances as a gift
for his 50th anniversary in the priesthood, to be blessed and then taken to
different countries or dioceses.
Some went to individual dioceses,
another to the USCCB, which put Serra in charge of it. The Ludlow parish has
yet another. Craig noted that parish is planning to build a larger adoration
chapel because the current chapel is too small for the numbers coming to pray
Observed Father Dailey: “The people
feel they have an intimate part in the diocese regarding vocations.”
Staff writer Joseph Pronechen
writes from Trumbull, Connecticut.
For information, visit or
• stmichaelprayerwarriors.php (513) 421-3131
• Clerus.org (for Vatican letter)
• SerraUS.org (888) 777-6681
• RosaryEA.org (414) 570-4389
BY Jim Cosgrove
Regarding “Novena for Priests: May 31 is Day One for Pentecost Project” (May 25-31):
I have distributed more than 1,000 copies of the Novena for Priests, which I obtained from http://www.novenaforpriests.com Many .priests are truly appreciative of this initiative to pray for them across the world. In our parish we are praying it, along with our Novena to the Holy Spirit, in preparation for the feast of Pentecost.
I think we could extend this praying for priests by encouraging people to pray daily for them, even after the novena is completed. I have requested, especially the young, to offer three Hail Marys at the completion of the Mass, for the priest who celebrated the Mass they attended. Many are doing this. Without priests, many parishes across the globe are shutting down. This pleases Satan a great deal as the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and confession, are not available that easily for the faithful.
I thank and praise God for the movement of the Holy Spirit in our Church. The Holy Father is truly a great inspiration to all of us, for he is a man of intense prayer and holiness. I love my Catholic Church and would do anything in my power to bring many to understand its richness, its teachings and especially the wonderful grace of meeting Jesus in the sacraments.
I think [the Novena for Priests] is the best common-sense approach for healing the hurt of the scandals. My extra concern is that I am not hearing (from the pulpit) concern for the victims and their families.
I hear excuses for the clergy and blame of the news media. My former pastor dumps the situation as something that the news media stirred. He calls it solely anti-Catholic and anti-priest bashing. We lay people are hurting as much as the priests because our beautiful Church has been damaged, and we don't like seeing our own hurt.
The bishops who met in Dallas last June didn't really seek a corrective. I saw mostly a defense mechanism. One of the participants at that meeting was surprised at the aloof attitude of the bishops. So, as I see it, there is a broad swatch of damage needing healing.
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