By Father Sean Suckiel
Many consider Pope Francis a great reformer in the life of the Church today. His visit to the United States will put the Catholic Church in the center of American media. He will be speaking to Congress, the United Nations, priests and religious, people from different faith traditions, families, the poor and the imprisoned. His speeches and homilies will be heard by millions of people worldwide!
His visit will also touch the hearts of our young people, who are making vocational decisions in their lives. The “Francis Effect” will challenge our young people to respond to the call of Christ in their lives.
Vocations to the priesthood and religious life have increased over the years. This year, Holy Mother Church has ordained 595 men to the priesthood in the United States, a 25 percent increase from the pervious year according to this year’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) report.
The Diocese of Brooklyn has responded generously over the last few years, ordaining eight men in 2013, 13 men in 2014 and 10 men this past June with another 10 projected next year.
While Pope Francis is inspiring and challenging vocations, this doesn’t diminish the importance of praying for and cultivating vocations in our local parishes.
“Vocations are born in prayer and from prayer, and only through prayer can they persevere and bear fruit,” said Pope Francis. Let us continue to pray hard for good and holy vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Vocations come from prayer and are nurtured in families. Let us continue to build a culture of vocations in our diocese through the hard work of our priests and religious along with the support of Parish Vocation Committees.
As we prepare for our Holy Father’s visit and begin this new academic year, let’s pray for our 47 seminarians that are preparing to become our future priests, that the Holy Spirit may give them the courage to respond courageously to this beautiful vocation.
If any young person is open to the possibility of priesthood or religious life, please do not hesitate to contact the Vocation Office at 718-827-2454 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Father Sean Suckiel is the director of the diocesan Vocations Office.