“Behind and before every vocation to the priesthood or to the consecrated life there is always the strong and intense prayer of someone: a grandmother, a grandfather, a mother, a father, a community … Vocations are born in prayer and from prayer; and only through prayer can they persevere and bear fruit.” — Pope Francis’ Regina Caeli Message, Fourth Sunday of Easter, April 21, 2013
Today is ordination day here in Des Moines! Two men, Andrew Windschitl and Luis Mejia, will be ordained to the priesthood this evening. Andrew is a dear friend of ours, and we are SO excited to celebrate this most special feast with him. I find it very timely that throughout the month of June, Pope Francis’ prayer intention is for vocations: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.
Are you intentionally praying for vocations from your family and parish community? I’ve shared the following story before, and it’s worth repeating now. It was 1881, and a group of mothers living in the tiny village of Lu in northern Italy gathered every Tuesday for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Their collective prayer intention was for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life from their families. This group of moms also received Holy Communion on the first Sunday of every month, again specifically praying for an increase in religious vocations. Fast forward several years, and from that tiny village came 323 vocations: 152 priests and 171 nuns. (Read more about this story on pages 18-19 from the booklet Adoration, Reparation, Spiritual Motherhood for Priests).
The seeds of a vocation can only grow in good soil. That soil is our families and parish communities.
Finally, some closing thoughts written by soon-to-be Father Andrew: “Whatever His will for anyone, man or woman, we seek it for them through ardent prayer. The results of a survey that is now more than several years old indicate a correlation between those areas that have Eucharistic adoration and an increase in the number of vocations. There is clearly something going on in the Church today such that our own diocese has seen a fourfold increase in the number of diocesan seminarians and numerous religious vocations, specifically ordered priests and nuns, with many more people showing interest. In addition to prayer, friendship with someone else who is living in such a vocation helps the man or woman realize that this too is a possibility for him or her. Last, but certainly not least, we should encourage young couples to commit to one another in the sight of God and the Church and raise holy and healthy families because not everyone is called to religious life the same way that priests and nuns are. Furthermore, we need families to perpetuate more families and more vocations.” — from the Spring 2015 Vocation Vibes newsletter.
Please offer a prayer for both Andrew and Luis today AND commit to continued intentional prayers for vocations from your family and parish community. Come, Holy Spirit!