Praying for vocations as a diocese planned for Oct. 28
October 12, 2012 at 2:45 PM
Faithful across the five-county Diocese of Allentown may join their prayers in unison for more laborers in Christ's vineyard during a Day of Prayer for Vocations Sunday, Oct. 28, which is also Priest Appreciation Day throughout the United States.
"The Day of Prayer for Vocations is an initiative of the St. Andrew Committee for the Promotion of Vocations. This is the first time that it will be observed within the Diocese of Allentown," said Msgr. David James, a member of the committee and director of the diocesan Office of Vocations.
Father Eugene Ritz chairs the committee.
"The idea of the Sunday is to focus on the need to pray for vocations to the priesthood, especially for the Diocese of Allentown," Msgr. James said. "While the priests will be asked to include special prayers at the Sunday Masses that weekend and to tell their vocation stories as an inspiration for those who may be considering a call to the priesthood, the main celebration will occur in the afternoon.
"Beginning at 3 p.m. the whole diocese has been invited to join together in prayer, asking God to grant us priestly vocations in the Diocese of Allentown. A center of prayer has been designated in each deanery of the diocese, so that it is convenient for the faithful to gather for prayer without having to travel long distances."
The prayer centers and presiders are:
Berks Deanery – Sacred Heart, West Reading; Msgr. Joseph DeSantis.
Carbon Deanery – Immaculate Conception, Jim Thorpe; Father James Bechtel.
Lehigh Deanery – Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena, Allentown; Bishop John Barres.
Northampton Deanery – Notre Dame of Bethlehem; Msgr. Thomas Baddick.
Schuylkill Deanery – Annunciation BVM, Frackville; Father Robert Finlan.
Msgr. James explained the idea is to have the whole diocese praying simultaneously and uniformly for vocations. A common service will be followed at each center of prayer, which will include readings from sacred Scripture, a homily, The Litany of Saints for Vocations, and benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Msgr. James said the idea arose from the popular devotion of the Divine Mercy Novena that begins Good Friday and ends the Sunday after Easter, also known as Divine Mercy Sunday. On Divine Mercy Sunday the faithful gather at the "Hour of Mercy" – 3 p.m. – to celebrate the mercy of God shed upon the world when our Lord died on the cross at 3 p.m. on Good Friday.
"As a diocese, led by Bishop Barres, we will approach the mercy seat of God with our prayers and beg the heavenly Father to provide the Diocese of Allentown with priestly vocations," Msgr. James said.
"Rather than designating a central location that may deter the faithful from attending due to travel, five centers of prayer were designated – one in each of the five deaneries – so that more of the faithful will be able to take part in the devotions."
The Day of Prayer for Vocations is one of the initiatives organized by the St. Andrew Committee. The committee also holds St. Andrew Dinners at various locations throughout the diocese for men who may be contemplating a vocation to talk with priests from the diocese about the priestly vocations.
Additionally, the committee sponsors a semi-annual "Come and See Weekend Discernment Retreat" at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia, for those who wish to experience the life of the seminary.
A new undertaking that will take place is "Quo Vadis Days." "This is akin to a 'summer camp' for vocations," Msgr. James said. "The Dioceses of Arlington and Harrisburg, and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, have conducted Quo Vadis Days over the past few years and have successfully increased the number of young men studying for the priesthood."
The Allentown Quo Vadis Days are tentatively slated for the first week of August 2013 at DeSales University, Center Valley.