By TARA CONNOLLY
Four priests who were educated in the faith at St. Jane France de Chantal School, Easton celebrated a Mass for Vocations together Dec. 20 and presented the school community with a chalice representing the vocations.
Bishop of Allentown Alfred Schlert, who graduated from St. Jane School in 1975, was the main celebrant in the school’s chapel.
Concelebrants were Monsignor Stephen Radocha, pastor and parish sons Father Kevin Gualano, administrator of Most Blessed Sacrament, Bally; Father Stephan Isaac, assistant pastor of St. Ignatius Loyola, Sinking Spring; and Father Mark Searles, director of the Diocesan Office for Vocations Promotion and chaplain at Allentown Central Catholic High School.
“All of us call St. Jane our home. All of us sat in these pews just like you are,” said Bishop Schlert to students, staff and family members of the priests.
One of the former students who used to sit in the pews is Father Searles, who came up with the idea to present the school with a chalice to be used at celebrations in the school’s chapel and the main church.
“The chalice is a gift to the parish from the four priest sons to be used for Mass on special occasions and to pray for many more vocations to the priesthood to come from St. Jane,” said Father Searles.
“The chalice will be a great piece of history and pride for the people of St. Jane and an encouragement and reminder to pray to the Lord of the harvest to continue to send vibrant laborers into his vineyard,” he said.
Engraved in the chalice is the inscription: “Hic est enim calix sanguinis mei” which translates to “For this is the chalice of my blood.” The base of the chalice also contains a scene of the crucifixion with the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John, which is the same crucifixion scene in the sanctuary of the Church above the altar.
In his homily, Bishop Schlert told the students that Advent is an exciting time of year and also a time to remember how the Blessed Mother said ‘yes’ to God’s request to carry his son.
“We are grateful for her ‘yes.’ It couldn’t have been easy for her to say ‘yes.’ Because of her ‘yes’ Jesus came in to the world. And he loved us so much that he died for us,” he said.
“We all have Jesus in us by our baptism. What he asks us to do is to think about the vocation in each one of us,” said Bishop Schlert.
Whether they are called to the single life, the married life or the religious life, he told the students that they must pray and discern how they want to live their lives.
“Discernment is a big word but it just means figuring out what God is calling us to do,” said Bishop Schlert.
“We priests hope this chalice that we leave with you is a reminder to all of you and children who are not born yet – to pray for boys to become brothers or priests and for girls to become sisters in the religious life,” he said.
Bishop Schlert then told the students that the call to the religious life is a “beautiful calling” that allows them to serve God’s people in a very special way.
“The parents and family of our priests with us here today know that their sons are happy to be serving God. We want you to be happy in life too. You will know what will bring you happiness if you discern through prayers,” said Bishop Schlert.
“Everyone’s calling is different. But God puts is all together and calls us into one Church, where we know God, love him and serve him,” he added.
Assuring the students of his prayers, he encouraged them not to fear saying ‘yes’ like the Blessed Mother did.
“You will say ‘yes’ to what God is calling you to do because you have Jesus in you,” said Bishop Schlert.
After Mass, Father Searles showed the chalice and chatted about vocations with a few students and blessed vocations crucifixes donated to the school for each classroom from the parish vocations committee.
“The new crucifixes are a great way to remind the students on a daily basis to consider and to pray how God is calling them to live in his love and to serve others on our journey to heaven and to be great saints,” he said.
“We are also very grateful to St. Jane’s School and the Easton Knights of Columbus Home Association who helped the priest sons of the parish to purchase the priceless gift of the new St. Jane’s Vocations Chalice. There is room on the bottom of the chalice for many more names of future priest sons as well,” said Father Searles.