November 2023 By Father Stephen Durkee, Director of Priestly Vocations Through this holy anointing, may…
When the need is great, we must ask: Petitioning God through prayer for vocations to the priesthood .
By Fr. Stephen Durkee, Director of Priestly Vocations
At St. Pius X Parish in Grandville, where I have the privilege of serving as pastor, we were without a youth ministry coordinator for all of last year. We began our search in September. By the winter, we had received almost zero interest. Finally, our business manager recommended to me that we start praying for our next youth minister as a community. She said, “Father, it’s just not on people’s minds. So, if we start asking God, he is going to send us somebody.” I love that! And I agree. Jesus said the same thing: “The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” (Mt 9:37-38) And in the Gospel of Luke, “… ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (11:9) The point our Lord was making is simple: If there is a need, then we must ask. God answered our community’s prayer and sent us a youth minister.
In the same way, there is a great need for vocations to the priesthood. With a growing number of our devoted priests nearing retirement age, the call to encourage and support new priests in our diocese is an urgent one. In the spring of 2025, our diocese will not ordain a new priest for the first time in several years. I believe God desires to call more men to the priesthood, and part of fulfilling this need involves all of us petitioning God through prayer.”
And so, with this urgent need in mind, I invite you to pray more intentionally for vocations to the priesthood. We can foster this type of culture by praying regularly for vocations during Mass, in families, and through parish prayer groups. One prayer you might consider using is the campaign prayer from the Our Shepherds – Our Future capital campaign. The Office of Priestly Vocations can provide you with a copy of the prayer if you would like one.
We should not hesitate to emphasize the importance of discernment and encourage young men to listen to God’s call in their lives. For some young people, all it may take is one person saying, “Hey, have you thought about a religious vocation?
The good news is – God has been moving hearts in our diocese! Two seminarians, Clayton Brown and Aiden McGavin, joined formation this fall, which means this coming year we will have 20 men studying for the priesthood.
When there is a need, we need to ask, and trust that God will send us faithful shepherds!