I’m pleased to introduce to you a new magazine that I’m quite sure you will find of particular interest: Vocations and Prayer: The Catholic Magazine on Vocations Ministry.
Why a Magazine on Vocation Ministry?
There was a time, it now seems long ago, when the vocation issue was something reserved exclusively for priests and nuns. More concern was placed on the quality of candidates than on the quantity. In fact, it was a simple thing for vocation recruiters to enroll a substantial number of teenagers interested in becoming priests and nuns during special summer gathering intended for this purpose.
Then came uncontrolled industrial development, the sudden urbanization of many areas, and the constant provocation of mass media. These events brought an even greater crisis of human values—moral and religious—in every sector of society, adversely affecting, above all, the young generation.
The Church does not live in a vacuum. Rather, it exists and becomes incarnate within our world. New attitudes toward freedom, authority, obedience, affectivity, intimacy, sexuality and the role of women in society, play a key role in influencing the life of Christians and the vocation in the USA and around the world.
Between 1970-1980 we witnessed a dramatic reduction in the number of priests and nuns, a progressive emptying of seminaries as well as a decrease in newly ordained. This developed an atmosphere of concern for the future of the Church.
Pope John Paul II addressing the delegates to the International Congress on Vocations on 1981 had this to say: “The Problem of priestly vocations and also of male and female religious, is –I will say openly-the fundamental problem of the Church.”
What About Vocation Ministry Today?
A new individualism seems to have taken hold of much of society which looks to one’s own needs as the measure of goodness and truth. There is a sexual revolution which touches the lives of individuals and families. Celibacy and long term commitments no longer have the value or prestige which they once enjoyed.
Despite increased opportunities for education and maturation, uncertainty and reluctance to make long-term decisions characterize the lives of many young people both in society and in the Church.
Within the Church today, strong emphasis is given to the common priesthood of all the baptized. Vatican II reminded the people set God that they are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people set apart.
The last ten years have seen an explosion of ministry, with the laity becoming involved in countless facts of Church life previously reserved to religious and priests. All such ministry has enriched the Church. A demand that all ministries be open to men and women, married and single, is a strong force within the USA Church which Pope John Paul II has addressed time and again by emphasizing the distinct but complementary roles of priests, religious and laity.
Fear is Useless, What is Courage and a Few New Ideas
Each human being is called by God and enriched by Him with gifts and charisms which surface in his or her life. The Divine Providence guides each one to be faithful to God’s plan for him/her.
Vatican II reminded the People of God that through baptism they each share in the mission and ministry of Jesus and the Church. The baptismal call to holiness serves as the basis for all vocations, both the lay faithful and those vocations marked by ordination and religious profession. Each member of the Church cooperates in the mission of Jesus by virtue of the common priesthood of the People of God; because to each one is given a particular manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. “To some his gift was that they should be apostles; to some prophets; to some evangelists; to some pastors and teachers; so that the saints together make a unity in the work of service, building up the Body of Christ”. (Eph. 4:11)
A vocation is a reality covering the entire span of our lives. It is a continual dialogue with God and brethren. It is a long journey of faithfulness to God in service of one’s brothers and sisters.
The duty of promoting vocations belongs to the whole Christian community. It is, therefore, an essential duty for a local Church to welcome, discern and evaluate all vocations. Vocations for a condition, of her vitality. Vocations are a gift from God to the Church and are obtained through prayer. A community that prays for vocations is, therefore, a community rich in vocations.
Expression of Our Commitment
“At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity. They were lying prostrate from exhaustion, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples: ‘The harvest is good but laborers are scarce. Beg the harvest master to send out laborers to gather his harvest. ‘ “ (Mt. 9:36-37)
This expression of the Gospel became the life’s work of Blessed Hannibal M. Difrancia (1851-1927) a priest who, almost a century ago, foresaw the continuous risk posed to the Catholic Church by adiminishing number of vocations. He proposed to the universal Church the simplest of remedies, based on faith in the words of Jesus: Pray for Vocations.
Toward this end he founded the ROGATIONISTS (from the Latin word rogate –to pray) , a religious Congregation of Priests and Brothers, and the Daughters of Divine Zeal, a congregation of Nuns. The member of both congregations make a vow of praying daily for vocations and of serving the Church in the field of vocations ministry. Vocations and Prayer is an expression of the Rogationist Fathers’ commitment to serve today’s church in USA.
Vocations and Prayer is the Magazine on Vocation Ministry
It emphasizes the importance of all vocations in the Church with particular attention to those specially consecrated: priests, nuns, religious, missionaries, deacons, members of the secular institutes and pastoral lay ministers.
It offers a complete view of the vocation issue in its biblical theological dimensions and pastoral applications. The spiritual itinerary of a vocation is also addressed: the call, counseling, discernment, the choice, spiritual direction, the different steps of formation. Vocations and Prayer is a hands-on supports system for anyone involved in preparing the future leadership of the Church: Pastors, Catechists, Vocation Directors, both diocesan and religious, ministers involved with the youth in various ways such as campus ministry, school, parish communities or organizations, Church movements, religion classes or activities, seminaries and formation houses.
Additionally, in each issue you’ll find a new Prayer Aid booklet from the PRAYER AIDS collection to help you and your community pray for vocations. Vocations & Prayer also brings you interview with prominent Church and community leaders; pastoral suggestions and experiences; viewpoints on psychological aspects of formation; documents on vocations; comics, posters, and vocation promotional items for use with school children or parishioners.
Each issue is geared toward the diversity of approaches and situations that Church and community leaders experience in their efforts to encourage and promote vocations.
Vocations and Prayer is the Magazine for You
Church need vocations, but promoting vocations is too big a task to be done by a few vocation directors. The leaders of today’s Church are responsible for preparing the leadership of the Church of tomorrow. Many wonder what will happen to our Church in the near future. We wonder about the future of our Church with hope and expectation. We accepts the challenges of our time, and we know that there are a lot of people around us willing to share our vision and our burden. They are the basis of our hope for the future.
Ask for a FREE Trial copy
Please accept our offer to subscribe to Vocations and Prayer at the low rate of only $12 per year, or $20 for a two year subscription. After you receive your first issue, if you are not completely satisfied, you may cancel your subscription by simply writing to us. Regardless of what you decide, your fist issue is yours to keep, free of charge. Subscribe today!
The editorial staff of Vocations and Prayer warmly welcomes you. We hope this will be the beginning of a long friendship between you and our magazine.
Rev. Adamo Calo R.C.J.
Editor in Chief