With an abundant harvest, prayers are needed for vocations

By Rev. James Wilcox

North Texas Catholic

10/20/2014

One of the great parts about being the Vocations Director is getting to visit with so many people from different parishes, and interestingly, one of the most frequent questions I get (after “How many seminarians do we have?”) is, “When will we receive the new posters of this year’s seminarians?” 

Well, fret not, the posters are heading to the printer as I type this. For this year’s poster, we selected some powerful words of Jesus Christ to serve as a reminder to the entire diocese to pray and foster vocations. “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (Luke 10:2).

Jesus Christ proclaims this as He is sending out the 72, and they harken as a reminder to all of us Catholics in the diocese about three important aspects of vocations. First, vocations are abundant in the Diocese of Fort Worth. Yes, we have 31 seminarians as well as several men and women in study for religious orders, AND there are many young people who have yet to answer their call. Second, it is our duty to pray, asking the Lord to continue calling men and women, and it is our duty to be instruments of support to them. Third, we must always remember that vocations are the work of God, not us. Bearing this in mind and heart, we must allow the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of people, gracing their lives by deepening their desire to serve the Church.

In May 2014, Pope Francis opened his homily for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations by asking how the harvest became so abundant for us, that all we need to do is reap. “But who did the work to bring about these results? There is only one answer: God. Clearly the field of which Jesus is speaking is humanity, us. And the efficacious action which has borne ‘much fruit’ is the grace of God, that is, communion with Him” (cf. John 15:5).  

God has generously provided the grace of the call to many. To those who have received the call, they follow the will of God through honest discernment. To families, they follow the will of God by encouraging each other to live fully God’s will in their life. To all, we follow the command of Jesus Christ when we beg the Master of the Harvest for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life, especially from our families and parishes in the diocese. 

Bishop Olson recently sent a letter to all pastors requesting that they institute a monthly Holy Hour for Vocations. Some parishes with established times of Eucharistic Adoration will likely devote one of those hours to specifically pray for vocations. Others will add an hour each month to live out the words of Jesus Christ to pray. Formats for the Holy Hour, along with suggested Scripture readings and prayers, are available at www.fwdioc.org/pages/vocations-about. Through our prayers and with God’s grace, all parishes — large or small; urban, rural, or suburban — can send laborers into the harvest.

So when you see the new poster go up at your parish, take a moment. Give praise to God that the harvest is abundant. Pray for the seminarians in their discernment, study, and formation. Then, consider who in your family and parish is being called by the Lord to serve. Pray for them, encourage them, and help them to answer the call with the grace of the Holy Spirit.

 

One of the great parts about being the Vocations Director is getting to visit with so many people from different parishes, and interestingly, one of the most frequent questions I get (after “How many seminarians do we have?”) is, “When will we receive the new posters of this year’s seminarians?” 

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