St. Michael Parish, West End, has made an important change to its annual Parish Day of Prayer for Vocations tradition.
Since its start in 2016, the day of prayer was held Aug. 4 in celebration of the Memorial of St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests. This year, however, the day has been rescheduled for June 1 and will be one of continuous prayer from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Highlights of the day include Eucharistic Adoration as well as intercessory prayers for vocations, recitation of the Rosary, praying the Angelus and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. A Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m.
Father John Butler, pastor of St. Michael Parish, said the main reason for moving the Parish Day of Prayer for Vocations up by nearly two months was mainly in light of the fact that no men are being ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese this year. Had there been a priestly ordination, it would have held at 10 a.m. June 1 in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton.
“So the date and time on the calendar that had been reserved for the Mass of Ordination at the Cathedral in Trenton will be replaced with this Mass for Vocations on the same day and at the same time but will be held here in St. Michael’s,” Father Butler said.
Because St. John Vianney’s feast day falls on a Sunday this year, “it made sense to move our Parish Day of Prayer for Vocations from Aug. 4 to June 1 to emphasize the urgent need to intensify prayerful efforts for more priests and for all vocations,” he said.
All are welcome to attend any portion of the June 1 day of prayer. Homilist for the 10 a.m. Mass will be Father Garry Koch, pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel, associate director of vocations for the Diocese. The entire schedule of the day may be viewed in the May 26 Sunday parish bulletin at stmichaelnj.com.
Those unable to attend are encouraged to support vocations “with their prayer wherever they may be on Saturday and also by talking encouragingly to men who might be discerning a vocation to the priesthood or diaconate and to women who might be discerning a vocation to consecrated religious life,” said Father Butler.
“The person who initiates that sort of thoughtful, kind, respectful, supportive conversation with a man or woman whose character and talents are well known to him or her might just be the messenger of the Holy Spirit and the human voice of ‘the call,’” he said.
St. Michael Church is located at 800 Ocean Ave., West End.