This week I was away at the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors and once again it filled me with hope. In many parts of the United States there is an increase in the response by men to the Lord's call to the priesthood. Some dioceses have many vocations (for example the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas has over 60 seminarians for a diocese that has almost the same amount of Catholics as our diocese).
As for our diocese, we are still struggling, but there are signs of hope. A few years ago our diocese was down to only three seminarians, but this Fall our diocese increased to three more seminarians bringing our total to nine men studying for the priesthood. Furthermore, at this point we have three men actively applying for next year's entrance in the the seminary and it is possible there may be more applying. Also, though we will not have any priests ordained this upcoming Spring, this May we may have three of our seminarians ordained as transitional deacons who would be ordained the following year.
Please keep praying for vocations and encouraging the young people of our parish to discern their vocation (whatever that might be). In such troubling and morally confusing times in our country and in the world, how much more people need to know Christ and encounter him (especially in the sacraments) which is another reason why praying for vocations is so important for all of us.
O Holy Spirit, Spirit of wisdom and divine love, impart Your knowledge, understanding, and counsel to youth that they may know the vocation wherein they can best serve God. Give them courage and strength to follow God's holy will. Guide their undertain steps, strengthen their resolutions, shield their chastity, fashion their minds, conquer their hearts, and lead them to the vineyards where they will labor in God's holy service. Amen.
Online Giving: Beginning the first weekend of November, we will be offering parishioners the opportunity to choose between donating each week by giving in the collection at Mass or by giving online. Those who give online can choose to have their weekly donation, and other donations, taken automatically from their bank account (so they don't have to worry about preparing a check or having cash for the weekly collection). Parishes that are doing this usually see an increase in parish financial support as well. In the upcoming weeks we will explain how to set this up for those who are interested.