This weekend we will welcome Religious Sisters from the African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC) to talk about the Annual missionary appeal. It is a reminder for us about the importance of priesthood and religious vocations for the church and for ourselves. I would encourage you to promote the importance of vocations in your home to your children and grandchildren. Pray that more people would be open to the Lord calling them to the priesthood or religious life. I would like to share an article from the Diocese of Greensburg on promoting vocations. I hope that you enjoy it.
BUILD A CULTURE OF VOCATIONS AT HOME
Imagine asking your son what he wants to be when he grows up, and he answers, “I want to be a priest!” What would your reaction be? Would you be worried or elated—or somewhere in between?
The truth is that God has a plan for each of your children; he wants them to be happy even more than you do! And their true happiness is found in discovering God’s plan for their lives—their vocation—and following it wholeheartedly.
So if you’re truly concerned about your children’s well-being, it makes sense to help them discern their vocations, whether to marriage, priesthood, or religious life. Here are some simple ways to foster openness to God’s call.
Snuggle up and read a story. Sometimes the simplest ideas are best! Add some books about famous saints to your bedtime reading. There are dozens of fascinating, age-appropriate stories of saints who were priests and religious. There’s even a comic book about St. John Paul II as a child!
Watch a better movie. When it’s time for family movie night, take a pass on Spy Kids 4 and check out A Mission to Love (the life of St. John Bosco). There are tons of other Catholic films that depict heroic and interesting priests and religious. The conversation afterwards is far more meaningful than which explosion was the biggest!
Set the record straight. Media depictions of dating and sexuality are often opposed to authentic love. So when a TV show sends the wrong message, set the record straight about what leads to real happiness. Especially around teens, defend the sacrament of marriage.
Play dress up! Just as children “play house” and pretend to be moms and dads, help them imagine the life of a priest, brother, or sister. A sheet or towel can serve as a sister’s habit. A Ritz cracker makes a good host for Mass. This kind of play normalizes what can otherwise seem to be an “other-worldly” vocation. Plus it’s a lot of fun!
Pray from the heart. In your family prayers, pray for more priests and religious. Let your kids hear you praying for their futures. “Lord, watch over Simon today and give him the grace to grow up to be a strong man of God. Keep him close to You, always in Your perfect will.”
Talk about vocations. Speak openly about vocations to marriage, priesthood, and religious life. From the earliest age, make it clear that happiness in life is following God’s plan. Tell kids that priests have an awesome job because they bring us the sacraments. Teach them that religious brothers and sisters make special vows to live like Jesus.
Befriend priests & religious. Invite a priest, sister, or brother to dinner at your home. Personal relationships are key. When kids are comfortable around Fr. John or Sister Margaret, they’re far more likely to be comfortable with the idea of a priestly or religious vocation when they grow older.
JOY MIXED WITH RELUCTANCE
Many Catholic parents have some reluctance about their children becoming priests or religious—at least at first. Typically, parents’ concerns fade as they witness their child’s vocation mature, and his or her happiness grow.
PARENTS SPEAK THEIR MINDS
“When my little boy plays Mass, it brings joy to my heart. His older sisters play along, even though they’re trying not to laugh. Who knows if he’ll ever be a priest? It’s just great that his little heart is in the right place. I love that.” ~ Amanda C.
“It almost broke my heart when Julie joined the convent. But when I visited her a year later, I could see the happiness and joy just radiating from her. My sadness melted away in an instant. I knew she had found her way in life. In retrospect, I’m glad my plans didn’t work out. As hard as it is for me to admit, God had a better plan for her.” ~ Carl R.
“Our son joined a religious order right after college. We were happy for him, but then he left, saying it just wasn’t his call. But I think it was good that he explored it… He was peaceful when he went in, and peaceful when he left. His mother and I are fine with his decision either way.” ~ Salvatore S.
“I wanted grandchildren so badly. I hid my disappointment when Colin went to seminary, thinking his interest probably wouldn’t last. By the time his ordination came along a few years later, God had really worked on me. I couldn’t have been prouder. His priesthood has been the greatest gift God has ever given our family.” ~ Jenni P.
AN OPEN ATTITUDE
If your child expresses interest in the priesthood or religious life, be supportive. If you’re excited, don’t push too hard. If you’re apprehensive, trust in God’s plan. The best thing you can say is, “Whatever God wants for you, I want for you, too.”
“A Place At the Table: African Americans On the Path to Sainthood,” a documentary released this year by Stella Maris Films, was crowdfunded in early 2021 and covers the exceptional lives of the six venerated US Black Catholics. Simply put, the two-hour film drew me in from start to finish and touched me in a surprising way.
While we are all called to be saints, those who have lived particularly heroic and virtuous lives often enter the canonization process by way of their religious community and/or local diocese. “A Place At the Table” goes into detail on Venerable Pierre Toussaint, Servant of God Mary Lange, Venerable Henriette DeLille, Venerable Augustus Tolton, Servant of God Julia Greeley, and Servant of God Thea Bowman.
Be sure to see this amazing film! A Place at the Table can be viewed on Formed.Org
Please pray for these six venerated US Black Catholics.
As the city of Philadelphia, our state and nation struggle with daily acts of violence, we continue to pray for peace. We pray for peace in the streets, peace in our homes, peace in our hearts. Please make a commitment to say and reflect on the Prayer of St Francis daily.
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
St. Raymond School is looking for a Front Office Assistant. Please call the School Office for more Details. Must have Computer Skills. 215-548-1919
Fr. Chris will return as Life in the Spirit Seminar & Keynote speaker this Friday,
August 5, at 7:00 pm. Please plan to attend and welcome him.
Thanks for responding to our call of support for a Repast Ministry Lead. Each person that signed up will be contacted. Each reply is appreciated.
Volunteers are still needed for the Video Technicians…….
Join us for a Meet and Greet BBQ for St Raymond Church and School families. Festivities are from 4-7 pm in the Schoolyard on Wednesday, 8/24. Food and music will be provided. We are requesting volunteers to make salads (pasta, potato, garden, etc.). So that we know what to expect, signup sheets (for attendance and for salads) will be in the back of the church. Hope to see you there!
Please try to stay cool during the summer heat. Remember to check in with your neighbors, family, and friends. If there is anything that we can do for you, please let us know. Have a blessed summer!