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Sacred Vocations

Jesus said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2)

For many years now, the Polish National Catholic Church has set aside the month of June to pray for Sacred Vocations; to pray that the men of the Church, both young and old, will hear and answer the call of our Lord to seek the priesthood or diaconate.  The words above, spoken by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ to the seventy disciples before He sent them out to preach and heal, were true in His day and are still true two thousand years later.  During this month for Sacred Vocations, we must not only pray, but stronger action is also necessary.

St. Paul reminds us in the letter to the Romans: “For, ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’  But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed?  And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim Him?  And how are they to proclaim Him unless they are sent?”  (Romans 10:13-15a)  The Polish National Catholic Church todays needs men who answer the call to Sacred Vocations.  It needs men who will be the ones to show belief in Christ, to preach Christ so that others may hear, especially in the Word of God, to proclaim Christ in the midst of a worshiping community in celebrating the Sacraments.

We oftentimes during this month of June spend a few minutes in prayer during our Sunday liturgies asking God to call those who will serve.  We pray that those men of the Church, whom God is calling, will answer this call.  But for the Church today this must be only the beginning of our prayers.  St. Paul tells us in his final exhortation to the Thessalonians at the conclusion of his first letter: “See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all.  Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  Do not quench the Spirit.” (1 Thess 5:15-19)  So much can be taken here in the Church’s prayer and support for Sacred Vocations.  “Always seek to do good to one another.”  For the members of the Church, this must be especially true in regards to our pastors and spiritual fathers, our deacons, priests and bishops.  As Prime Bishop, I heard many times how people tear down the clergy and even the bishops.  In these cases we must ask ourselves, does what I say about a priest or bishop of the Church negatively impact a young man who may be considering the priesthood?  This is especially true, if any negative reaction is based solely on one’s own personal dislike.

Next the apostle tells us to “pray without ceasing.”  This should be true for our Sacred Vocations prayers as well.  In one way this means that our praying for Sacred Vocations should not only be limited to the month of June.  It should extend throughout the whole year.  Our Sacred Vocations Commission has done much to help us in this matter, as they have written intercessory prayers for each Sunday and Solemnity for this entire year.  I encourage all our parishes to pray them during Holy Mass, but more importantly, each of the families of the Church should continue to pray these prayers at home. We each must pray these prayers because each one of us is impacted by the ministry of the clergy among us.  It is through their ministry that we encounter Christ in the Church, and especially in the Sacraments.

But more importantly we must extend this saying of St. Paul here as we would in other areas.  We know that “pray without ceasing” does not mean that we should spend all our time in Church on our knees with hands folded, but rather that we should approach each of the actions of our day in a prayerful and intentional way.  This is something that we can certainly do.  And yet we again ask ourselves, are we doing this in regards to Sacred Vocations?  Do we encourage and pray for Sacred Vocations in our daily actions?  Do we encourage and support those young men, and older men as well, in seeking to serve Christ at the altar?  Do we honor and support our clergy, deacons, priests and bishops, as men who have chosen to serve God’s people with their lives and all that they are?  On a personal level, have parents ever spoken to their sons about the
priesthood?  Have you ever said to someone at Church that they have what it takes to be a priest within the P.N.C.C?

Also for the men of the Church themselves, have you ever spent some time in thought and prayer about whether God is calling you to serve Him at the altar?  This is something that each Polish National Catholic male should ask themselves when they are considering where God wants them to go at every level.

On a personal note, when I graduated both high school and college, these were questions that I considered, but I did not feel that God was calling me to the priesthood.  At both of these times I was all set to pursue an academic career in mathematics.  But the priesthood was also something that I did not rule out.  It was only later that the calling came to me and it was at that point I went to seminary.  The important thing to remember is not to rule anything out, thinking that we each know better than God.

These are the questions that we should be asking ourselves during this month of prayer for Sacred Vocations.  Let this month of June be, not only 30 days to focus on Sacred Vocations, but rather the beginning of a time for change; a change in our parishes, a change in our families and a change in ourselves to spend some time focusing on Sacred Vocations.  Let us ask at our next parish annual meeting and next parish committee meeting, what is this parish doing for Sacred Vocations?  Let us ask as families of the Church, what are we doing for Sacred Vocations in the P.N.C.C.?  And let us ask ourselves, what am I doing as an individual to encourage Sacred Vocations within the Church?  It starts by considering it, praying for it and working for it, and it will be accomplished by continuing to do this each and every day.

Let us pray for Sacred Vocations during this month of June.  Let us pray earnestly that the men of the Church will be open to God’s call and will answer.  But also let this June be the beginning of a change to honor the clergy, encourage all men to consider service at the altar of the Lord and show that we, as Polish National Catholics, need and cherish, support and encourage, those men who do take up this call to follow Christ through a ministry at the altar.

 

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Phone: (570) 346-9131
Website: http://www.pncc.org
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