This past week has been “Vocations Awareness Week.”
These readings today are perfect—
we hear about how God called Samuel,
and how God chose Peter and Andrew.
This past week, I had a visit from a parishioner,
Who wanted to talk about how can do more to promote the deacon program,
as well as lay pastoral ministry.
I admitted to her, I’ve done less on these things than I’d like,
so I was glad she brought it up to me.
She had some ideas, and she’s going to get back to me, but—
here’s what I would say to everyone here:
> We have a Vocation Committee,
but it’s small and needs more people.
There are a lot of good things, good resources,
I wish I had more time to work on this,
I’m just swamped these days!
But if you are interested, please give me a call!
My point is, with some more help, I think we can,
this year, start doing a lot more.
> For those thinking about being a deacon—come see me.
I see a lot of men here who would make great deacons.
But I realize it’s a hard call to answer,
with jobs and family concerns.
Each situation is unique, let’s talk about how to do it.
> If you’re specifically interested in promoting
lay pastoral ministry, I think the parishioner
who came to see me, would be interested
in hearing about that. Let me know!
We want to do some things.
In the first reading, did you notice where Samuel was,
when he was called?
He was in the House of the Lord;
yes, sleeping! But still, in God’s House.
When Andrew followed Jesus,
the first thing he did was simply spend time with him.
That means prayer, and confession and the sacraments,
but it also means giving each day to him.
Good for all of us to hear his call.
Now, when we talk about “vocations,” a lot of us are saying,
I’m not going to be a sister or brother or a priest.
I’ve got two things to say to that:
First: I said that too!
Many times I said, “oh no, not for me!”
I spent many years away from the Church,
and was certain I’d never come back to being Catholic.
But God has his way of calling you, “Samuel, Samuel!”
He called me back to our Faith,
and in time, he led me to be a priest, and your pastor.
Not once did He force me.
Not once have I regretted answering the call to be a priest!
So, parents: sometimes you wonder if your sons or daughters
will be happy and fulfilled, in answering this call.
The answer is, if this is for them, then nothing else will!
Parents, please be generous in your encouragement.
But a second point, for those who say you’re not called
to the priesthood, or religious life, is…
OK, but you still called to support that calling in others.
You are still called to help us, as a Church, to draw others.
If we want more priests and deacons and religious,
we must pray for them;
we must support that calling; that is a responsibility for all of us.
In other words, you are called to be a "caller."
That’s why I’ve asked everyone to add, to your grace at meals,
a simple prayer: “please send us more holy priests.”
I ask you to bring this to your holy hours and daily prayers.
Sunday night, we have an opportunity.
At St. Mary, 6-8:30 pm, we’ll have the “Call to the King” Conference—a chance to pray for more vocations,
And to consider if your “calling” is not to be a priest,
but to be a prayer-warrior for others to answer the call.
I ask you to consider two times, in our recent experience,
where we stormed heaven—and heaven answered:
1. Father Tom was a death’s door. You remember?
We prayed, and prayed and prayed. Look at what happened!
2. Every week, St. Boniface prayed for the “Rebuild St. Boniface Fund Drive.”
That thermometer sign in the vestibule didn’t move very much.
Go check it out—it’s moving a lot faster!
We’re going to complete that fund soon!
So there’s a calling to be religious and priests—
but there’s also a calling
to be the one who prays and sacrifices for these things.
I ask that everyone of us answer that call.
“Here am I Lord—I come to do your will.”