Tag Archives: vocation

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.

Marseille priest who loves his vocation: start afresh from Christ

Michel Marie Zanotti-Sorkine.jpg

Can I say this? I want every priest to be like Michel-Marie Zanotti-Sorkine: a sign of unlimited availability to Christ and to humanity.

In Marina Corradi’s Avvenire article “The Pope is Right: Everything Must Start Afresh from Christ,” (thanks to Sandro Magister for bringing this article to our consideration) she portrays a French priest in way that is attractive and full of great humanity.

Two paragraphs strike me as important for us to reflect upon:

•  “…he affirms that a priest who has an empty church must examine himself and say: ‘It is we who lack fire.’ He explains: ‘The priest is ‘alter Christus,’ he is called to reflect Christ in himself. This does not mean asking perfection of ourselves; but being conscious of our sins, of our misery, in order to be able to understand and pardon anyone who comes to the confessional.’”

• “In church, he welcomes everyone with joy: ‘Even the prostitutes. I give them communion. What should I say? Become honest, before you enter here? Christ came for sinners, and I have the anxiety, in withholding a sacrament, that he could bring me to account for it one day. But do we still know the power of the sacraments? I have the misgiving that we have excessively bureaucratized the admission to

• baptism. I think of the baptism of my Jewish mother, which in terms of the request of my grandfather was merely a formal act: and yet, even from this baptism there came a priest.’”

His pastoral plan for those who ask the question about returning to the practice of the faith: “the Marian embrace, and impassioned apologetics, which touches the heart.”

A man with Russian-Jewish-Corisican-Italian blood, a singer-song writer, author (his latest is Au diable la tiédeur, {To the devil with lukewarmness}), and now an ordained Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Marseille.

Father Michel-Marie Zanotti-Sorkine is pastor at Saint-Vincent-de-Paul in Marseille.

wanted for work: a priest’s vocation

wanted for work vocations.jpgPray for men to respond to priesthood and consecrated life.

Saint John of Damascus, pray for us.

Young Catholic monks maintain tradition, respond to needs in faith


St Benedict french illumination2.jpgThe Benedictine Abbots are going home now. They’ve
been meeting in Rome since the 17th. Their work was not deliberative
in any meaningful way as much as they gathered for the reason to elect an abbot primate, to gain perspective, to meet new and old monastic superiors, to hear how the worldwide Benedictines can assist one another in living the life more effectively and intensely according to the Holy Rule and the mind of the Church. Time was spent in prayer, study, and pilgrimage. How could one not spend time in prayer before the holy places of the martyrs in Rome as well as some of the central points of interest to Benedictines. 
Cindy Wooden from CNS published this
article today as a sort of synopsis of one aspect of Benedictine life–the
attraction of new members. Father Michael Casey, a Trappist monk, priest, author and speaker, addressed the assembly. He, by the way, is one of my favorite contemporary monastic thinkers. If only the abbots and other monastic superiors would listen to Father Michael. Alas, they’re too timid and many can’t (won’t?) do the hard work necessary to figure out what they ought to do so as to not live in diminishment mode. One often gets the feeling that some monasteries would rather die than alter their Benedictine observance and the adherence to Christ and the Church. But, I will say that despite a lack of clear and intense thinking, praying and living, there are significant points of like for Benedictine monasticism in the USA.


What follows is an extract of what was published (read the text in full here):


PMCasey OCSO.jpg

One of the main speakers at the Benedictine abbots’
congress was Cistercian Father Michael Casey, an expert on monastic
spirituality from Tarrawarra Abbey in Australia.


Maintaining tradition while
responding to changing needs is an inescapable part of life, both for
individuals and for religious communities, he said. “The fact that we are
alive means that we are continually influenced by our past, continually
interacting with our present, and looking forward to the future. It’s really
just a matter of personal integrity, personal vitality that we do respect and
allow our past to continue speaking to us
.”


Read more ...

Norbertines vested, professed in Paoli, PA

daylesford abbey santc.jpgOn August 27, 2012, the Abbot of Daylesford Abbey in Paoli, PA, vested two secular priests in a traditional rite as novices of the Norbertine Abbey.

The video digest of vocation story of Father Herb Sperger being vested with the Norbertine habit can be viewed here.
Father David Driesch gives us his vocation story on the occasion of being vested as a novice at the same ceremony as Father Herb.
On August 28, 2012, Brother James Garvey professed first vows as a Norbertine. His narrative can be seen here.
Saint Norbert and all Norbertine saints pray for the novices!
If interested, here are two very brief posts on Saint Norbert here and here.

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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