Jim Graves is a Catholic writer and editor living in Newport Beach, California. He previously served as Managing Editor for the Diocese of Orange Bulletin, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Orange, California. His work has appeared in the National Catholic Register, Our Sunday Visitor, Cal Catholic Daily and Catholic World Report.
Transfiguration Catholic Church in Marietta, Georgia, is one of many parishes in the Archdiocese of Atlanta that has devoted itself to praying for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life through its chalice program, also known as the Elijah Cup. The program was adopted in the parish five years ago, said parochial vicar Father Brian McNavish, and brought forth many good fruits.
The Elijah Cup is a program of Serra Atlanta, which has been adopted in Atlanta and neighboring dioceses. Father McNavish was ordained for the Archdiocese of Atlanta in 2018; Transfiguration is his first priestly assignment. National Vocation Awareness Week in the U.S. is Nov. 3-9, 2019, and the Elijah Cup is one of the programs encouraged by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
How does it work?
We advertise the Elijah Cup on our website, with the chalice icon on our homepage. The coordinator receives the sign-up confirmation email. The coordinator emails the family as a follow up with instructions on how to receive the cup.
The priest has a written statement that he reads at Mass, or he says something off-the-cuff upon handing the chalice (in a box) after the Prayer after Communion at Sunday Mass. Recipients return the chalice the following week to the sacristan/Mass coordinator. It is done in English and in Spanish.
What positive results have you seen?
It brings family together in prayer, which is the most important, as it places an important religious symbol (chalice) in a prominent place in peoples’ home environment.
Why do you think it is important?
The Elijah Cup anchors families in prayer in their home environment, teaching that prayer is for inside church walls as well as in the home with families. It is an instrument that draws people more deeply into the liturgy as well, as they can see the chalice that was once in their homes. It is important to pray for vocations in the Church and to have families meditate and pray on vocations.