Tag Archives: vocation

Congrats to the newly ordained

new bport priests.jpgIn recent days several dioceses and religious orders have ordained men to the priesthood.

The priest is to “understand … imitate … and conform” his life to the Cross of Jesus. The bishop exhorts the man to be ordained to see that he believes what he reads, that he teaches what he believes and practices what he teaches.

Here is a random sample:
The Archabbey of Saint Vincent: 1
The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal: 4
The Order of Preachers, New York: 6
The Idente Missionaries of Christ: 1
The Archdiocese of Boston: 5
The Archdiocese of Hartford: 7
The Archdiocese of New York: 6
The Archdiocese of Newark: 5
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia: 3
The Archdiocese of Los Angelus: 2
The Eparchy of Newton: 1
The Eparchy of Saint Maron, Brooklyn: 2
The Diocese of Bridgeport: 7
The Diocese of Paterson: 9
Saint John Mary Vianney, pray us.

What does it mean to be a priest?

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The priest as a spiritual father is the compass leading the people to righteousness, to virtuous path to God. He protects the Christian identity in all its complexities by educating our religious sense as Fr Giussani teaches. The faith community is as strong, stable, and capable in mission,, vocation, and charitable activities as the leaders are willing to lead.  A “high ecclesiology,” if you will, shows us that the priest is gateway to the faith and he shows the way to salvation; but a priest can only be a gateway if he has the people who form the walls and is aware that Christ is the foundation. Too often these days the Catholic priest is not a man of prayer, learning, culture, good humor; many priests have lost a sense of heroic virtue.

How does the priest address the needs of the faithful today? Can the priest answer the questions being asked by the faithful and those seeking to know God,or at least willing to do the work needed to answer these questions? What type of witness needed today by the priest viz. the culture, media, and politics, so that we are happy, healthy and loving Christians? What are the concrete ways can we focus on God? How do Christians face nihilism with faith, hope and charity? What does it mean to be a person –and not merely an individual– realizing that the person is a part of a whole who glorifies God?

As you can tell, I am thinking about these things. What I am reading on this subject will make for another post, but I spent time listening to two presentations.

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Pope ordains 10 men to the priesthood of Jesus Christ

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Earlier today in Rome Pope Francis ordained 10 men to the priesthood of Jesus Christ. He showed up early to the sacristy to spend time in prayer with each of the men to be ordained. For bishops, ordinations are their way of being generative; the newly ordained are often referred to as spiritual sons of the bishop. The Pope ordained pastors, not functionaries; he ordained shepherds of souls, not church babysitters. Below is his homily.


Beloved brothers and sisters: because these our sons, who are your relatives and friends, are now to be advanced to the Order of priests, consider carefully the nature of the rank in the Church to which they are about to be raised.

It is true that God has made his entire holy people a royal priesthood in Christ. Nevertheless, our great Priest himself, Jesus Christ, chose certain disciples to carry out publicly in his name, and on behalf of mankind, a priestly office in the Church. For Christ was sent by the Father and he in turn sent the Apostles into the world, so that through them and their successors, the Bishops, he might continue to exercise his office of Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd. Indeed, priests are established co-workers of the Order of Bishops, with whom they are joined in the priestly office and with whom they are called to the service of the people of God.

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The Litany Run

Jenn Garza training for the OC Marathon_in_preparation of her litany run.jpgThose recent college graduates with educational debt need to pay off their debts prior to following their vocation as a priest, brother, nun or sister. No one is allowed to carry debt into religious life. Morally and economically religious orders can’t assume the educational debt of new recruits. They can help, but it is unfair for them shoulder the entire financial burden given finances today. Some orders, depending on the size of the loan will pay the student loans off over time as the new recruit progresses in the order. But there are ways to work through the financial burden without getting despondent.

Here is Jenn Garza’s story. Jenn wants to be a Norbertine nun of the Bethlehem Priory of Saint Joseph but needs help in paying off $53,000.
Read this website about the Litany Run: 26.2 to the Monastery, and how to help as part of your lenten almsgiving.
Living in debt to a bank, government or a family member is not a good thing at all, even if you are not entering religious life or priesthood. But it is unavoidable today. Modest income people can’t afford huge tuition bills but at the same time our students deserve the best education. So the tensions for Christians is that they ought not to carry large amounts debt, educational or personal for very long. If anything, Christians ought to save a percentage of money for a “rainy day” (like unemployment) and make a sensible donations to worthy causes.

Religious orders dying out

This morning the faithful bloggers at Rorate Cæli published an article, “Spain: Religious Orders prepare for the end,” outlining the decline of many religious orders.

There has been several decades of vocational contraception in religious orders not only in Spain, but you can name all the other countries in Western Europe AND in North America. All of the well known religious orders in the USA (the SJ, OFMs, Conventuals, CSC, Capuchins, to name a few) are clearly on the decline and are, in fact, preparing for death. In the last few years and certainly in the near future, some prominent religious orders of men and women are merging and monasteries closing. This past year one Benedictine monastic chapter voted to close their monastery and there are at least 9 others that could close and no one would blink.
No all is hopeless. One sees signs of hope among some provinces and some monasteries. But with new recruits not all is better: life in these communities remain fragile.
I am saddened by these events because there is no reason for the aborting of a charism given by the Holy Spirit for the Church. It is time for serious work in conversion, vocation and mission.

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]yahoo.com.
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