Dear Friends in Christ,
Last week, I announced that Cardinal DiNardo is transferring Fr. Richard to serve on the faculty of St. Mary’s Seminary. I am hopeful and pray that we will get a replacement but there are no guarantees. To put things in perspective, it is helpful to review a few numbers for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
|Number of archdiocesan priests||216||196||-20|
|Total number of priests in archdiocese||437||418*||-19|
As you can see, this is a serious situation. I would love to tell you that it is temporary and the fix is easy and quick. We all know better. Likewise, we can all imagine what will happen if we continue on the same trajectory.
So what can we do?
We can wring our hands, complain, lament, blame, ignore reality, quit or despair. These are all available options, though not very good ones. We can demand that others (the pope, bishops, pastors, etc.) change things to suit us. Again, not a very productive or practical solution.
So what are we to do?
The answer has already been given to us by Jesus himself, “The harvest is plenty but the laborers are few. Beg the harvest master to send laborers into the field” (Mt 9:37-38). Each of us must pray fervently, not only at Mass but at home every day, for many more vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Vocations are everybody’s business. We must encourage our children and grandchildren to consider a vocation. Most importantly, we must live our lives with God at the center and our Catholic Faith as our most treasured gift. It is not difficult to imagine how hard it is for a young person to aspire to a religious vocation if they have no strong example of faith in the home. If our faith is easily neglected, dispensed with or treated as a non-essential part of our lives and families, what is the message we are sending? When everything and anything comes before God, faith and church, our values and priorities are clear.
The above numbers are sobering and they indicate real challenges and changes ahead. But we are a people of faith and hope. The Lord has promised that He would never leave us orphaned, yet we have to do our part as well. God never ceases to call but we need to encourage and support young people in hearing the call and in answering “Yes” to the call. The priesthood is a wonderful life. Like all states of life, it has its challenges and struggles. The priesthood is a demanding life. Yet, when embraced with love, it is a life of incredible joy, satisfaction and happiness.
St. John Vianney parish has been blessed to have a long line of priests who greatly love the priesthood. I want to invite every young man to pray and consider a priestly vocation and join us in this wonderful life. If Jesus is calling you, He will give you everything you need. What you have to do is say “Yes, Lord!”
In pace Christi,