St. Agatha parish, Sunset Park, marked National Vocation Awareness Week by celebrating Sister Rosa Pham’s final vows as a Sister of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the World. Students and teachers from the parish faith formation program dressed as saints and angels for the special Mass.
Thirteen men were ordained to the transitional diaconate on Saturday, Nov. 3, in the main chapel at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie. Five men from the Brooklyn Diocese, five men from the Rockville Centre Diocese, and three men from New York Archdiocese were ordained.
More than 200 students from all levels of seminary formation celebrated the Inter-Seminary Day of Prayer and Fellowship Nov. 1 at the Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston. The day started with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.
“Yes, there is a vocation crisis, but we have to realize student loans are a substantial inhibitor to our vocations and the people wanting to give their lives,” said Norvilia Etienne, a college student in her final year of study at Queens College.
ACCOMPANYING MY mother to the public market in Haiti one day when I was eight years old, I saw a man wearing a cassock crossing the street.
Growing up in today’s society, it is not uncommon to hear clichés being taught to children, such as, “Do what makes you happy,” or, “Follow your heart.” While it is true that we ought to do what makes us happy and do what we believe to be right, those phrases leave out an important fact: without God, you cannot be happy.
WHEN I WAS in the sixth grade at St. Mary Star of the Sea and St. Gertrude in Far Rockaway, I was always struck by how joyful the priests would be during Mass and outside of Mass with the people. While I was growing up at the parish, I was an altar server and worked as a sacristan. I had the opportunity to watch the priests up close and that led the thought of priesthood to enter my mind.
When I began to discern my vocation to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ I was in high school, working and in the midst of researching and visiting prospective colleges. I went on to study criminal justice and law at the City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice. While in college, I felt my call to the priesthood grow deeper.
One could say I was living the American Dream. I had a sizeable house in a good neighborhood, a respectable job paying a healthy salary and prospects for continued career advancement. The problem was a sense of incompleteness; a realization that there was something important missing in my life, a hole in my heart.
A world without Jesus Christ is a world without hope – unrecognizable, within which our neighborhoods, communities, and our common humanity cannot truly flourish. For our sake and for those we must lead to Christ, we cannot lose sight of who we are, from Whom we came, and to Whom we look to return. We’ve got to roll up our sleeves, and get to work.