As I mentioned on this blog a few weeks’ ago, there are opportunities throughout the Diocese of Erie to attend a Holy Hour for Vocations. This is a key part of our hope for attracting new men to the seminary for the Erie Diocese. You are encouraged to attend any of the Holy Hours being offered. Here again is a listing of the events:
- Nov. 3 at 7 p.m.—St. Mark Seminary, 429 E. Grandview Blvd., Erie (Bishop Lawrence Persico will participate in this evening. The communities of Mercyhurst Preparatory School, Cathedral Preparatory School and Villa Maria Academy are encouraged to participate in this event.)
- Nov. 3 at 7 p.m.—Venango Catholic High School, 1505 West First St., Oil City
- Nov. 3 at 6:30 p.m.—DuBois Central Catholic High School, 200 Central Christian Road, DuBois
- Nov. 4 at 7 p.m.—St. Michael Church, 811 Chestnut St., Emlenton
- Nov. 5 during school hours only—Elk County Catholic High School, 600 Maurus St., St. Marys
- Nov. 10 at 7 P.M. Kennedy Catholic High School, 2120 Shenango Valley Freeway, Hermitage
It is not as if our prayers can win God’s favor, or force God’s hand. God in His Providence knows what we need before we know it (Matthew 6:8). What is prayer, then? Why do it? We pray so that, as St. Augustine once said, our desire for God’s will might grow. Are our desires in union with what God desires? Do we ask that question? Do we even care? Are we too wrapped up in our own daily agendas to care? Prayer stops the dynamic of selfishness, and places the proper focus on the Lord, leading to true blessings.
Prayer focuses us on higher things. Our daily work routines and our family responsibilities. We might feel that we want to spend every moment with our families, or spend all of our time building a successful business endeavor. Sometimes, even very often, we truly don’t have time for extended prayer. Still, time spent in prayer reminds us of the existence of a higher plane of being – the spiritual force of the Holy Spirit, which guides all life along its course. The very decision to pray is a recognition that our work and enjoyment is not the “be all and end all” of life. The decision not to pray, then, is a decision that our work and play really are the sum of our self-directed life. Such an environment is not a fertile soil for a seminarian to sprout up. After all, if we do not value prayer, why would we want someone to give up their lives so that we can offer that most holy prayer, the Sacred Liturgy? Why would we even care to have a priest whose service is not valued or wanted?
We need to deserve our seminarians. We need to act in such a way as to deserve the gift of their young lives in service to God and Church. Praying for them is a great start. As we pray for vocations, we say to God that we desire shepherds after his own heart. We want someone to give us the keys to the Kingdom of God, the Sacraments. We need access to saving grace. We need Jesus Christ to be a real part of our everyday life. We need to be members of a visible body of faith, of a church. We need more than individualistic, spiritual righteousness. We need real, visible holiness!
We need men to answer the call to ordained ministry, to bring us these most precious gifts of Christ. May we rely on the Lord’s strength to draw the hearts of men to the seminary, and may our hearts be prepared to support them.