From Father Steven - May 16, 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
These past weeks I was asked almost by everyone if the parish would be getting another priest in place of Fr Adriano. I believe I gave the same answer all the time, “Let’s pray that someone is sent.” Even though this is all we can do, it is nonetheless something very important to do. Let’s PRAY for God to send another priest to our parish.
It is not news to anyone that today the Church is faced with a shortness of priests. As of the last report from April, in the Archdiocese of Boston, there are 536 priests all together. Out of those priests, only 329 priests are in “active” ministry (the others are either retired or disabled). However, not all those priests are working in parishes. Some are serving outside the archdiocese, others are in the seminary, or chaplains, or some other sort of ministry. Therefore, there are 239 priests serving full time covering 237 parishes. (There are 25 other parishes that are currently served either by religious priests or priests from out of the archdiocese.) As some parishes like ours have more than one priest, that results in having one priest serving more than one parish. In a way, we were blessed to have had at least 3 priests serving IC for a long time. Even though we were all sad with Fr. Adriano’s new mission, I was grateful to God for having had him in the parish all this time. We have requested help from the Archdiocese, who wants to help us, but there might not be anyone available to be sent here. That’s why it’s important for us to PRAY!
Back in 2006, Cardinal Sean published his first Archdiocesan Letter titled “Vocations, everybody’s business.” It was a beautifully written letter in which the Cardinal encouraged parishes to form a vocation team that would promote awareness, begin a campaign of prayer, and identify individuals who may have a calling to the priesthood. Saint John Bosco, who worked with the Italian youth in the 19th Century says that 70% of the children receive the call to the priesthood, but only a few listens, and even fewer responds to that call. Bringing that awareness to our children, youth, and young men, is very important. There was a seminary who once said that the discernment to this vocation is done step by step. The first is to wonder, “does God call me”? Pope Leo the Great says that the very questioning about vocation is the very first sign of a vocation. There are some people who just never wondered, or even contemplated that question. This is not something crazy that a person can feel called to be a priest. Regardless how inadequate or unworthy one may feel, there is a great possibility of a vocation there. Pope Benedict XVI says that “the question of our vocation is not a problem to solve, but an adventure into who God made us to be and how we can best glorify God in this life.” Praying always helps this process. Another important element that seminarians always speak about is the support that a person receives either before or after entering the seminary. I have received (and still do) some letters of people who wrote to me saying that they had offered a holy hour for me. Others have sent chocolates or other goodies. Some people even “spiritually adopted” us throughout our formation. Personally, I am a priest today certainly through the many people who have prayed for my vocation. Here at IC, we already pray for vocations in our morning mass. We pray each day for one priest and one seminarian. But there is still much more that we can do. Next week, starting on Friday May 21st at 10am through Saturday, we will have a 24 hour adoration PRAYING for vocations. In a special way, this adoration time will also be offered for the 5 men being ordained priests for the Archdiocese on Saturday May 22nd. Their names are Fernando Ayala, David Campo, Robert LeBlanc, Leonardo Moreira, Kevin Pleitez. Indeed the adoration will conclude at the beginning of their ordination. For those who would like to write a note in support to them or to the other seminarians, we will have a list of their names and the addresses of their seminaries. We will also have available a calendar in which each day a priest is listed to be prayed for. We also need to PRAY for the sanctification for the clergy as Our Blessed Mother has instructed many times.
Our Lord Jesus Christ already experienced the need for people to work in the Lord’s vineyard from the very beginning, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” (Mt 9:37-38) Let us pray that the Lord may send not just more priests, but also HOLY PRIESTS. I conclude with a quote from St. John Bosco, “vocations are preserved only with prayer.”
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Father Steven Clemence