I want to ask a special favor of you. In the bulletin are two prayers: for vocations to the priesthood and for priests. Would you make every effort to say both of these prayers at least once a week, either individually or as a family? These formed prayers will help to keep the avenues of God’s grace flowing into the hearts of our young people. We need more vocations to the priesthood and I’m asking for your help, lending your voice as one community of faith.
The latest statistics show a decrease in vocations over the last few years. There are varied reasons for this, but, prayer should never be one of them. I love being a priest! My spiritual fatherhood as priest and pastor are a blessing! I strive to serve the Lord with a loving heart and you, His children, with generosity and faithfulness—I hope it truly shows in my preaching, reverence at Mass and Catechetical teaching. I’m concerned that in the Rockford Diocese our numbers of seminarians has decreased. There are more retirements than ordinations. This has to change.
So, pray with me and for me. Pray for young hearts to answer the call to serve. And, encourage young men and women by leading and living holy lives. Let’s flood the gates of Heaven begging for an abundant increase of priests and religious sisters to serve the Church.
Prayer for Priests
O Jesus, I pray for your faithful and fervent priests; for your unfaithful and tepid priests; for your priests laboring at home or abroad in distant missions fields; for your tempted priests; for your lonely and desolate priests; for your young priests; for your dying priests.
But above all I recommend to you the priests dearest to me; the priest who baptized me; the priests who absolved me; the priests at whose Masses I assisted and who gave me your Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priests who taught and instructed me; all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way. O Jesus, keep them all close to your Heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity.
Rockford Diocese Vocation Prayer
Almighty and Loving God,
You speak to us in many ways and soften the heart to hear your call. As your heart speaks to our heart, and the prayer from our lips to your ears is heard, awaken in the young people of our diocese a desire to serve you as a priest, sister or brother. Enter their hearts and minds as they will be open to your call.
Christ the Son,
You gave your life that we might live. Encourage more men and women to respond to your call. Bless them with homes that are loving, families that are supportive, and churches which are beacons of hope. Keep them steadfast in their love for you and your people.
Holy Spirit, Comforter and Guide,
Strengthen those who now serve your Church. Enkindle in them the fire of your love. Fill them with enthusiasm and zeal. Through their service and witness let young people be drawn to you. Through your Holy guidance set young hearts on fire: willing to love, willing to serve, willing to be priests, sisters and brothers.
We ask this special prayer through the Divine Trinity, One God, Three Person: Father, Son and Holy Spirit! Amen!
By Msgr. Martin Heinz
With Ecclesiastical Approval Bishop Thomas G. Doran