February 5, 2010

Pray for Vocations!


Fr. Michael J. Woolley

Four years ago, in 2006, scientists and government leaders began to get very concerned when honeybees began to start mysteriously disappearing in large numbers in our country.

Hundreds of thousands of beehives across America would be thriving and healthy one day, and the next day all the bees were nowhere to be found.

By 2008, one out of every three beehives in the United States had been destroyed, in what is now referred to as “colony collapse disorder,” the cause of which is still undetermined.

Now, you might say to yourself “No Big Deal, I don’t eat much honey anyway, and there’s always sugar if the bees go the way of the dinosaur and dodo bird.”

But it is a Big Deal if all the bees disappear, a very, very very Big Deal.

Because if all the honeybees in America disappear, we would have a nation-wide disaster on our hands that would make the Haitian earthquake look like a picnic.

Because while the bee doesn’t seem very significant compared to other problems our world faces, in reality, the survival of the human race is totally dependent on the survival of the honeybee.

There is a famous quote, attributed to Albert Einstein, that says: “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”

The good news in all this is that last year, only a very small percentage of beehives experienced colony collapse disorder compared to the large numbers in the previous three years, so hopefully that’s the end of that.

I bring up all this, because in recent years a similar and equally serious phenomenon has taken place in our Catholic Church. But instead of Bees disappearing, we have priests disappearing.

Just a few decades ago, even the smallest Churches in America had 2, even 3 full time priests ministering in them.

U.S. Seminaries in every major city were filled to capacity with young Catholic men studying for the priesthood.

Today however, Parishes are lucky if they have one full time priest all to themselves, and the big seminaries of old look as empty as a beehive which has suffered colony collapse disorder.

And if you read last week’s bulletin insert, it said that in 15 years, half of the priests currently active in our diocese will have retired or be eligible for retirement. And we currently are in no way ordaining enough priests each year to replace these retiring priests.

And this my brothers and sisters is a very serious problem, for the local Church is as dependent upon priests for it’s survival as humans are dependent upon bees for their survival.

No more priests, no more Eucharist, no more grace, no more Church, no more mercy, no more salvation.

As St. Padre Pio once said, “It is easier for the earth to exist without the sun than without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!”

The hopeful news, however, is that we can, if we want to, easily stop priests from disappearing.

Mary says to us in today’s Gospel “Do whatever (My Son) tells you” And Jesus tells us clearly in Scripture that when priests start disappearing, you and I just need to Pray, and God will turn some of the young men in our parish into priests, just as Jesus turned water into wine at Cana.

“The Harvest is abundant,” Jesus says in Luke’s Gospel “but the workers are few, therefore pray to the Master of the Harvest to send out workers to His Harvest.”

As I mentioned last week in my homily and in the bulletin, our parish is having “24-Hours of Prayer and Adoration for Priests and for Vocations to the Priesthood from our Woonsocket Parishes” which will be held at our parish from 4 p.m. Friday February 5 and end 4 p.m. Saturday February 6.

This weekend, I’m asking every parishioner at Mass to make an offering of at least 15 minutes of their time to come to Church during that 24 hour period, to come to Church and pray for priests and for vocations.

In your pews, you’ll find a “prayer pledge card”. If you could take a moment to fill this out. . . .Once you’ve filled the pledge card out, please put the completed form in the collection basket with your budget today.

Thank you for your patience in filling this out, and for your commitment to pray for vocations.

Jesus didn’t allow the the Wine to disappear on the good Bride and Groom who invited Him to their wedding, and neither will He allow the priests to disappear on us good Catholic who pray fervently to him for vocations.

And while He’s at it, may Jesus keep those Honey Bees from disappearing again on us as well!

1 comment :

Jim H. said...

Pray for vocations? Yes, certainly! But what we really need to pray for is AN INCREASE IN CATHOLIC MARRIAGES (with a BIG C and a BIG M) which will generate the larger numbers of young men from whom God will call.