Category Archives: Vocations

Paying down debt to follow Christ


You wouldn’t believe it, but young people discerning a
vocation to the consecrated life and/or priesthood in the USA, today, face the
problem of debt.

Personal debt is one thing and we all have to watch our
spending. And we are the ones who to repay the credit card companies, not someone else. It is a very true experience to say that consumerism often replaces Christ as the focus of our lives.

BUT the
significant problem at hand is the amount of education debts young people have to pay
off before following the vocation given to them. Many young people went to the university, received a good education and now felt called to serve the Lord and the Church as a priest or sister and can’t because they have repay their college loans. It is the responsible thing to do. It is also the thing that will prevent someone from actually fulfilling their calling. Large college debts make a
person ineligible from entering a religious order or a diocesan formation
. Some religious orders will make some arrangement if the debt is “reasonable”
especially if the candidate is “worthy.” Many will not because their own income is not capable to lend that kind of assistance. Again, personal debts are the responsibility
of the person. The video on the Mater Ecclesiae website (see below) speaks of grants and the tough call made in discerning who gets help, who doesn’t. These grants assist in paying off
those college debts.

Perhaps as an act of charity we could make a charitable offering
to one of the agencies helping these young men and women deal with their
educational debts. Christmas is a time for giving with love.

This article, “Debt, the Vocation Killer” gives some perspective on the matter. Plus, there are worthy organizations that help in dealing with the educational debt like the Laboure Society and Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations.

The JOY of living…in Christ as a Poor Clare nun

Look at these beautiful young women following Christ as Poor Clare nuns of Lerma (Burgos), Spain! I can’t believe my eyes!!! They’re happy. They’re alive. They’re infectious.

You’ve gotta read the CNA story (in English) here but the video in the story is in Italian with English subtitles. Also, watch another video about these same Poor Clares. Sorry, these videos are subtitled but watching them you get the point: the heart is attracted by love and joy.

I want to know: do we have anything like these nuns in the USA?

7 to be ordained to the Order of Deacon for Archdiocese of New York

2 signing Oath of Fidelity.jpgTonight 7 men made the Profession of Faith and the
Oath of Fidelity
 (which I encourage you too read) at Vespers. These 7 men will be ordained to the Order of
Deacon tomorrow here in the Saint Joseph Seminary Chapel by Bishop Dennis
Joseph Sullivan, VG, auxiliary bishop of New York: James H. Ferreira, George
LaGrutta, Steven R. Markantonis, Fredy P. Montoya, Thomas Roslak, Enrique J. Salvo,
Daniel P. Tuit

Please keep these men in your prayers and sacrifices tomorrow
and in year ahead as they prepare for ordination as priest on 15 May 2010 for service in the Archdiocese of New York by Archbishop Timothy P. Dolan, PhD.

Our Lady of Dunwoodie, cause of our joy, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints John Vianney, Pio of Pietrelcina, John Eudes, pray for us.

Dolan’s 4 step recipe for priestly vocations

Speaking to the Serra Club dinner, renown for fostering vocations to
the priesthood, diocesan and religious orders, Archbishop Timothy Dolan
outlined 4 priorities:

Dolan & Estban 09.jpg

Emphasize the vocation of marriage and family:”Taking care of the first crisis
will take care of the second,” said Archbishop Dolan. “Vocations to the
priesthood and religious life come from lifelong, life-giving faithful

2. Re-create a culture
of vocations: “There were no good old days in the Church. Every era in Church
history has its horrors and difficulties. We need to recapture the
climate/tenor/tone/ambiance in the Church where a boy or man isn’t afraid to
publicly say, ‘I want to be a priest,’ and where his family, relatives,
neighbors, parish, priest, sisters, teachers and even non-Catholics are
robustly supportive.”

3. The laity need to not be afraid to ask their priests
to help them be holy: “For a faithful Catholic, a priest is essential for
growth in holiness because he gives us the sacraments, and without the
sacraments we can’t be holy. When you ask us to help you be holy, we realize
that we must be holy, and you remind us that there is something unique in the
Church that only a priest can do.”

4. Priests must be reminded that they are here to help the laity
get to heaven: “A priest is an icon of the beyond, the eternal, the transcendent.
Heaven gives us hope and meaning in life.”

New Haven natives preparing for priesthood

Baptist 041.jpgOver the years New Haven area Catholics have nurtured the vocations of many men to the priesthood or religious life. In the coming days I am hoping to write more about those who have said “yes” to the Lord in His call to religious life and priesthood. But for the moment let me note here those from the New Haven area that are studying for a religious order or a diocese:

Ken Dagliere, Archdiocese of Hartford, Holy Apostles Seminary, Cromwell, CT
James Onofrio, Archdiocese of Hartford, Neumann House, St Joseph Seminary, Yonkers, NY
Gabriel Scasino, Conventual Franciscans, Forestville, MD
Paul Zalonski, Diocese of Bridgeport, St Joseph Seminary, Yonkers, NY
In the last few years Capuchin Father Charles Sammons and Fathers John Lavorgna and David Manna (priests for the Archdiocese of Hartford) were ordained priests and all from the greater New Haven area.
If there are others let me know.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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