Dear Brothers & Sisters,
In this weekend Gospel, Jesus continues with other parables about the Kingdom of God. This particular passage is very dear to me. It speaks to me about the discovery of my vocation. Sometimes it’s hard to put into words what one feels, especially to explain such a different path of life. Jesus puts it actually quite simple, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Next weekend, Saturday, August 1st, five men will be ordained priests for the Archdiocese of Boston by Cardinal Sean. So today, I would like to share with you some thoughts about vocation.
Thinking about becoming a priest, or a religious sister is something a bit “strange” nowadays. Some decades before it was quite usual or even expected that one of your children would dedicate their lives to God. Now the pressure of society, as well as friends and family can be quite opposite of serving. It’s natural to ask, what do YOU want to do when you grow up, to a child or a teenager. However, it would be interesting to ask, what do you think that GOD calls you to do when you grow up? The word “vocation” comes from the Latin “vocatio”, to be called or summoned for something. God calls all of us to love him and our neighbor. That can be done by being a teacher, doctor or firefighter. We should not think about which career is best, or most profitable, but what is God calling someone to do. So, I invite you, as you talk to children, teenagers and adults, to encourage them to discern their calling. There is so much pressure today to do so many things, that can be confusing to hear that call. In the same way that we are in need of good doctors, teachers, professionals in general; we are also in need of holy priests, and religious sisters.
Personally, I never thought about becoming a priest until I was a teenager. My mind was all over the things that I thought would make me happy, or even what was most gratifying. Surely, I was thinking very worldly, mundane thoughts. In the 9 years of the seminary and the 6 years as a priest, I find it difficult to think of any other activity that would be for me as rewarding and gratifying as a priest. (By the way, I’m confident that getting married and having children is equally awesome, but my happiness shocks me because I did not think it was possible.) Thinking about everything I gave up, or what I left behind by entering the seminary, the words of this Gospel always come to my mind, “out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” There are no words to describe the happiness of celebrating the sacraments, accompanying the people in joyful and sometimes sad moments and being able to witness the miracles God does in people’s lives. When a good friend of mine became a priest, he shared with me the feeling of saying the words of absolution to someone “I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” It’s true, to be able to lend ourselves to God it’s unexplainable. The same thing can be said about the words of consecration. However, none of this would be possible if some people had not encouraged me and, through prayers, sustained me in this journey. Knowing personally many of these men who will be ordained next week, as well the stories of many other priests, it’s amazing to see how there is always a group of people that have helped them to enter the seminary. Whether their grandparents, parents, different priests who have served them, or even friends and Campus ministry, there was always someone to help them. The same can be said about religious sisters.
Therefore, I invite you all to pray for vocations, to pray for those discerning and following their vocation. Also, have some conversation with your children, grandchildren and folks close to you about their vocation. We can always ask them, what if God calls you to be a priest/nun? Why not? It’s a not matter of forcing anything, but certainly we need to question ourselves if God calls them.
Finally, I would like to ask you all to pray especially for these five men who will be ordained priests next week. Maybe they will be serving us one day, or maybe your parents or your children. If would you like to accompany the ordination, I invite you to tune in Catholic TV next Saturday at 10am. It’s a beautiful celebration! I would like to invite everyone to be there, but due to the Covid, attendance will be very limited.
Here below we have the name and the picture of each one of them. Let’s ask the intercession of our Blessed Mother to protect them and St. John Vianney, patron saint of Priests, to inspire them to be Holy.
Fr. Steven Rev.
Father Steven Clemence