To launch the U.S.-Canadian role in the
The monstrance was one of six the Pope blessed during his Nov. 24 general audience. They are designated for Eucharistic adoration for vocations for each major continent or geographical area around the world.
On Jan. 3, Father Edward Burns, executive director of the bishops’ Secretariat for Vocations and Priestly Formation, received the monstrance from Daniel Gonzales, national director of the website Vocation.com, and Legion of Christ Father Anthony Bannon, who was until recently North American territorial director of his religious order.
“We are so excited about this,” Father Burns said. “We are grateful for this opportunity to pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send workers into the harvest.”
From the shrine, the monstrance went to
“We are still in the process of contacting all the
The Serra USA Council and Serra International will help move the monstrance throughout the country. Father Burns said his office will post the schedule on the Internet at www.Vocation.com.
“Our hope is, through this collaborative effort of the
USCCB, Adoration for Vocations, Vocations.com and Serra International, we might
combine our resources and really promote this
“We hope this is just the beginning of many other projects we can collaborate on with the USCCB,” he said.
Father Brian Christensen, vocations director for the Diocese of Rapid City, S.D., attended the opening event at the national shrine and hopes the monstrance will come to the Diocese of Rapid City.
“When you know this blessed monstrance came from the Holy Father and this connection with the universal Church, you won’t be able to ignore that in prayer,” he said.
Father Christensen added, “The connection between the Eucharist and vocations is so apparent and so clear that we decided to capitalize on the connection in promoting prayer before the Blessed Sacrament specifically for vocations.”
At the start of the Year of the Eucharist, the diocese initiated the Parish Pledge of Prayer for Vocations, asking each parish to dedicate one hour a week in prayer for vocations before the Blessed Sacrament.
As an aside, he said that during Bishop Blase Cupich’s last ad limina
That includes blessing many monstrances
for adoration for vocations. For the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., assistant
vocation director Father Joseph Marcello brought one to the same November
general audience to be blessed by John Paul. This monstrance is used
exclusively in the diocese’s new adoration for vocations program, which closely
mirrors the new
“As the monstrance travels from parish to parish,” Father Marcello said, “many parishioners around the diocese have commented that they feel, on some level, a personal connection with the Holy Father and are able to respond personally to his invitation to deepen their appreciation for the gift of the Eucharist this year, while asking the Lord to send priestly vocations to our diocese.”
On the national level, Father Burns said he’s seen that young people hunger for opportunities to encounter the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
“I see many graces coming from this entire event,” he said. “As the Holy Father has said in his encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia (On the Eucharist in Its Relationship to the Church), it’s before the Eucharist that the Lord speaks to the hearts, in particular to the hearts of those who are discerning his will. I think that these moments of Eucharistic adoration will have a profound effect in helping to create a vocation culture within our Church. That’s why we look to this as a wonderful moment in time and a wonderful opportunity.”
Kathleen Reilly of St. Matthias Church in East Lyme,
She looks back eight years to the day fellow parishioner David Craig, now the national director of Adoration for Vocations (firstname.lastname@example.org), was organizing the first Eucharistic adoration at their parish to pray on first Fridays for vocations.
“Dave said, ‘I don’t know why, but I know you should be involved in this in some way,’” Reilly recalled. She began polishing the monstrance and getting flowers ready.
“At the time, my son Kevin was not quite settled in his life,” Reilly said. “I was praying for him. Not that he would go into the priesthood — quite frankly, that hadn’t dawned on me. I was praying for him that God would show him where he should be in his life.”
But shortly after, Kevin called from Washington to say he was attending daily Mass and had spoken with priests who thought he might have a vocation.
“I felt that God, through prayer, showed him where he was to be,” Reilly said. “This was not something anybody would have figured for Kevin. He was probably as surprised as anyone.”
Since then, he’s become Father Kevin Reilly in the Diocese of Norwich. His mother continues signing up people for Eucharistic adoration and attending adoration herself.
She also points out that another woman in the parish who comes to daily Mass and prays for vocations now has a son studying in a Massachusetts monastery. Both vocations are the first in their parish history.
“You know what we mothers think?” Reilly said. “We think it’s from Eucharistic adoration. We definitely feel it. I just wish more people could come to adoration.
“That’s the way God is going to answer our prayers,” Reilly said, “praying before the monstrance.”
Joseph Pronechen writes
from Trumbull, Connecticut.