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Discipleship and Vocation

During this entire year of 2019, the Polish National Catholic Church has been focused on the issues that surround Discipleship and how our religious life is to be one of following our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in all that we do.  If this is the case then we must also know that the Lord must also be a part of our life’s calling, our vocation.  As we consider the many aspects of our discipleship, our following Jesus throughout our entire life, we have been concerned with the many ways in which we are to live our religious life, not just within our parish churches, but most especially outside of the walls of our parishes.

Consideration in this manner hits home for us in a special way during the month of June within the Polish National Catholic Church since we spend time in prayer and consideration of the Sacred Vocations of the Church, the men who are and will become priests and deacons.  June has historically been the month in which we honor our fathers on Father’s Day and so the Church chooses this month as well to honor our spiritual fathers, the bishops, priests and deacons of God’s Holy Church.  It was for this reason that the Polish National Catholic Church has chosen the first Sunday in June to be Clergy Appreciation Sunday and also while we consider at this time the funding of the Clergy Pension Fund, as a lifelong care for the clergy of our Church.

I certainly hope that each and every parish of the Church showed some appreciation to their local clergy earlier this month and if you have not, there is still time within the month of June to do so.  I also pray that all will consider the important and vital role that the clergy play within each and every one of our lives.  The clergy walk the journey of life with each of us and become an expression of the encouraging and comforting presence of Almighty God among us.  Just take a moment to consider the role of the clergy for each of our lives.  It is certainly obvious to see that a member of the clergy was a part of all of the highest joyful and sorrowful events of our lives.  During those moments of sadness when a member of the family is sick, or following the death of a loved one, our clergy provided the comfort and strength of God.  During the joyful moments such as the birth of a child or the joining of two lives in matrimony it was the clergy who pronounced God’s blessings.  But even with all of this it is only just scratching the surface.  In the community life of the Church, in the Christian Family that is a parish community, the clergy is there to show us the continuing presence of Almighty God and how we are called to live lives of discipleship, not just for an hour on Sunday, but rather at each and every moment. 

As members of our Holy Church we see that the clergy, the priests and deacons, are vital to our spiritual and religious life.  We therefore must all be concerned about the encouragement and fostering of Sacred Vocations.  In this we must look to the example of our Lord Jesus Christ and, in the spirit of discipleship, see how He called His first followers who became the Apostles.  St. Matthew’s Gospel tells us: “As He was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.  He said to them, “Come after Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  At once they left their nets and followed Him.” (Matthew 4:18-20)  Although this scene is quite striking in its shortness and quick response, we can surmise that there is also something else going on behind the scene which helped to bring this situation to this focus point. 

We know that Jesus had been in the local area preaching for some time and announcing the Good News.  He had been in the area explaining exactly what was contained within the message, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17b)  This shows us the beginning of the way in which to nurture a vocation.  Each family of the church must be an active and full participant in the liturgical and teaching ministries of the parish community.  We all must treasure the riches that have been given to us in the words of Scripture, through the homilies preached to the congregation and most fully within the sacramental life of the parish.  We know too that this also must have been true of the first Apostles.  They were able to appreciate the teachings and ministry of Jesus because they had been reared in a religious culture and within families that looked for the working of God around them.

This truly must be taken as a religious duty for us all in the Church today.  If the clergy are important to us, and in fact we know that they are vital, then we must encourage and perpetuate and most especially live in a way in which God’s voice can be heard among all of His people.  We must speak and act towards the clergy of our Holy Church in a respectful and honorable manner, knowing that they are called by God to play an active role in each of our lives.  We must pray for our bishops, priests and deacons and encourage our children and families to do so as well.  We also must work together with the clergy of the Church knowing that while they play a vital role in God’s Holy Church we are also called as well to work together with them in building up the Kingdom of God. 

Through all of this, through how we choose to live our daily lives as members of the Holy Church of God, we will help to encourage vocations to the priesthood and diaconate.  It is not that we are charged with pushing anyone to be something that they are not called to be, but rather that we allow God’s voice to be heard in the lives of the young men of the Church to discern a Sacred Vocation.  In fact we should hope that God’s voice is heard for each and every child of God, so that the Church will be full, not only of men in Holy Orders, but also with people of all ages that are truly fulfilled in the work that God has called them to do and that they offer their talents and lives to the cause of God in the world.

We truly can’t ask or pray for anything better.  To live such a life is also surely work, but it is also a labor of love.  We know that parents will often sacrifice much for their children and their families.  There can be no greater thing to help to make sure that they are loved and spiritually healthy through their worship and the following of Jesus.  Let’s make sure that the voice of the Lord is open to the members of the Church. We are assured that Jesus still calls to the men of the Church in Sacred Vocations.  Let us help to make sure that His voice can be heard.

To all of my brother bishops, Bishop John Mack, Bishop Paul Sobiechowski, Bishop Bernard Nowicki, Prime Bishop Emeritus Robert Nemkovich, Prime Bishop Emeritus John Swantek; to all of my brothers in the priesthood, the Senior Priests and Priests of the Church, and to my brother Deacons, please know that I cherish your work and service to God and His people, I appreciate your dedication to Jesus Christ and His Church and I keep you in my prayers.

Our Address

1006 Pittston Avenue, Scranton, PA 18505
Phone: (570) 346-9131
Website: http://www.pncc.org
Email: info@pncc.org