Speaking to a group of American bishops recently, the Holy Father said, “Before all else, I would acknowledge the great progress that has been made in recent years in improving catechesis, reviewing texts and bringing them into conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
“Important efforts are also being made to preserve the great patrimony of America’s Catholic elementary and high schools, which have been deeply affected by changing demographics and increased costs, while at the same time ensuring that the education they provide remains within the reach of all families, whatever their financial status. As has often been mentioned in our meetings, these schools remain an essential resource for the new evangelization, and the significant contribution that they make to American society as a whole ought to be better appreciated and more generously supported.”
These words are very encouraging as we work hard to support our schools and look creatively to the future to find ways of sustaining our schools.
Another bit of information came our way recently. A study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate found that among recently ordained priests and newly vowed religious, nearly half of the respondents attended a Catholic elementary school, and were also more likely than other U.S. Catholics to have attended a Catholic high school and much more likely to have attended a Catholic college. The study also showed that these men and women are younger and better educated than in years past. So it seems that vocations and Catholic education are still closely related.
As we enter the “Ordination Season,” please pray for vocations, and pray for the families of those men being called to the sacred priesthood and those women being called to the religious life. Please pray that their families will be supportive, and not stumbling blocks to their following the Lord’s call.
Over the course of the coming weekends we will see men ordained as deacons, transitional deacons and priests. We have a good number of men preparing for the priesthood. Hopefully your parish has the poster with their names and faces displayed somewhere prominently. Please pray for their perseverance.
Please pray also for our young people. Pray that God would plant the seed of vocation in their hearts and that this seed would be tended and nurtured by their families and their parishes. When I am traveling around the Diocese, I always ask the altar servers if they have thought about the priesthood or religious life. Most say they have not thought about it. What is even sadder is that I ask if anyone has ever suggested it for them. Most of them say no. We all need to do better.
Most of our priests love the priesthood and show it. As an adopted son of the Religious Teachers Filippini, I know that these sisters are a treasure to the Church, and that they have shown great joy and love to many whom they have taught, or in my case, prayed into the Church. So, please pray for vocations, and pray for our schools. May the seeds planted today bear much fruit in the years to come.
Father Freer serves the diocese as vicar for Catholic education.[[In-content Ad]]