Another busy weekend… Today we had a training day for new catechists. It is the third of four study days. And tomorrow we’re all being sent off around the diocese to speak in parishes about VOCATIONS!! The Letter from Pope Benedict is very moving… The theme is how the responsibility of proposing vocations belongs to each one of us, and for this Sunday in particular the focus is on the local Church. This is what the initiative of Vocations Voices is responding to: young lay people and seminarians are going into parishes to speak about their own vocations, and how the need for priests is to be responded to by each of us. Jesus, “when he saw the crowds, had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (Mt 9:36).
This reminds me of being in St Peter’s Square a couple of weeks ago for the Thanksgiving Mass the day after John Paul II’s Beatification. We were next to the obelisk in the Square, but Communion was not being distributed that far. The crowd was pushing its way forward, reaching out and calling to the priests. It was the second day in a row we had been unable to receive Communion because of the crowds. So after Mass we headed for the nearby youth church of San Lorenzo on the off-chance that we would be able to receive Communion there. It was an incredible moment – we arrived at the door at the exact same moment as an American priest who said he would happily distribute Communion to us. I was overjoyed at being able to receive the Lord. And how many days do we receive daily without thinking anything of it?! How badly we need priests…
Pope Benedict said recently to seminarians: “You have done a good thing. Because people will always have need of God…” I hope this message resounds in parishes on this Vocations Sunday, that we pray more for priests and for seminarians, support them and love them more. Amen!!