Have you ever considered a vocation to the priesthood or the religious life?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Musical tribute to priests

As part of its celebration of the Year For Priest, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will hold a concert featuring the Philadelphia Priest Singers at its Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul next month. The 40-priest-strong choir, along with two other choral groups, will perform sacred music at the March 25 event.

Click HERE for more information. h/t to Catholic News Agency.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A way to thank your priest

Writer Anne Hughes is asking Catholics to submit letters in which they thank their priests for all of their hard work and dedication to the Church and parishioners. The letters will be compiled into a new book, "Letters to Priests: Thanking the Men of the Catholic Church."

From a press release seeking entries:

How has a homily or sacrament touched your life? Sharing your letter of thanks may be healing for you and others as you retell your experience. Many of us share the same stories – joyful and sorrowful – and in thanking your priest you may be a source of inspiration and healing for others as they read of your journey.

Click HERE to read how you can submit letters. h/t to Lisa Hendey at CatholicMom.com.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A voice for the poorest of the poor

Zenit, the news agency based in Rome, recently had an update on the canonization cause of Father Joseph Wresinski, a French-born clergyman who founded the first group of what would later become the ATD Fourth World Movement, which advocates for the rights of the poor. The priest's cause is now at the Vatican stage.

At a Mass in Rome marking the 22nd anniversary of Father Wresinski's death, Msgr. Melchor Sánchez de Toca y Alameda, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said the priest's life was "consumed in the defense of the dignity of the poorest brothers: He had felt God's call to become one of them, and wished to reflect this vocation in his priestly motto: 'Go out into the deep and cast your nets,' [...] far from the coast, far from security, from protection and from the comforts of an ordinary priestly existence."

Click HERE to read more about Father Wresinski and his cause.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Church by the numbers

You hear a lot about the upcoming priest shortage in the Church, but the 2010 "Annuario Pontifico," or Pontifical Yearbook, that was released over the weekend had encouraging news: There was an increase in seminarians in the Church from 115,919 in 2007 to 117,024 in 2008.

Most of the gains were in Africa, Asia and Oceania, which have enjoyed an explosive growth of the faith in recent years. America's numbers held steady, but there was a drop in Europe.

Click HERE for more on the Annuario's findings.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Priestly vocations the focus of papal retreat

Pope Benedict XVI's annual Lenten spiritual exercises begin Sunday, and the meditations led by Salesian Father Enrico dal Covolo will center on the priestly vocation, which is only appropriate as we continue to mark the Year for Priests.

Zenit reports that Monday, which is the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, will be dedicated to prayers for priestly vocations.

Catholic News Service notes that Father dal Covolo is the first priest invited by Pope Benedict to lead the retreat. The pope's previous four Lenten retreats were led by cardinals.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pope: Priests must be authentic men

Today, as part of his tradition of meeting with the priests of Rome to mark the beginning of Lent, Pope Benedict XVI led the pastors in a lectio divina on passages from Hebrews and commented on the roles and responsibilities of the priest.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Priestly responses needed

A survey aimed at determining priests' use of the Internet needs more responses.

As ZENIT reported:

The PICTURE (Priests' ICT Use in their Religious Experience) survey was motivated by the Year for Priests.

It is supported by the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy and sponsored by the Università della Svizzera italiana in Lugano, Italy, and Rome's Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.

The survey is expected not only to give a better sense of priests' attitudes toward the use of the Internet, but also to improve the efficacy of online communication in the Church.

Priests can access the survey by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Jazzing it up to feed the hungry

Chicago, among other things, is a great jazz town. A Catholic priest in the Windy City who also happens to be a jazz guitarist is capitalizing on that fact in order to raise money for many of the city's food pantries, including Catholic Charities of Chicago.

Father John Moulder, pastor of St. Gregory the Great in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago, has organized the Chi-Town Jazz Festival in some of the hottest jazz spots in the city. The venues and musicians have donated their space, time and talents for the event, which runs March 16-21.

"I've always had the idea of bringing together musicians for a common cause, and now just seemed like the right time to do it," Father Moulder told The Chicago Tribune.

Click HERE to read more about Father Moulder and the festival.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hopping on board to the priesthood

The Serra Club of Tucson, Ariz., hopes to get men on board with the priesthood through new ads placed on bus benches. The signs, which are on 10 benches throughout Tucson, have slogans like "White collar workers needed. Heavenly benefits package!" and "Join Jesus in his priesthood. If YOU have a calling."

"Maybe a bus bench will help somebody reconnect and eventually answer the call to a vocation," club president Chuck Zaepfel told the Arizona Daily Star. "Where the next person would be who would make that phone call? We don't know."

Click HERE to read more about the ad campaign.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Year for Priests international congress

Today, the Vatican announced that an international theological congress will take place in ROme next month to address the theme "Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests."

The two-day event will be divided into three sessions — two focusing on priestly identity and one on liturgy and celibacy. According to a communique from the Congregation for the Clergy, those invited to the congress include, "bishops who preside commissions for the clergy, supreme moderators of clerical institutes and associations, formators of the clergy, and priests themselves who are primarily responsible for their own permanent formation." Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to receive participants on March 12.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Two priests, united in their love of Haiti

Over the weekend, the New York Times profiled two Catholic priests — one a U.S. native in his 60s, the other a thirtysomething Haitian — who have been bound together through the tragic earthquake in Haiti.

Father Robert Robinson and Father Jean-Moise Delva minister to Haitian immigrants at Ss. Joachim and Anne Parish in the New York borough of Queens, and each man says the earthquake has been the biggest test of his priesthood.

“It’s worse than a nightmare, because you wake up and it’s still there,” Father Robinson told the Times.

Click HERE to read their story.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Priest and hero

The latest issue of The Priest magazine has a feature on Father Emil Kapaun, a military chaplain from Wichita, Kan., who died with his troops during the Korean War.

Here's an excerpt of Priest editor Msgr. Owen F. Campion's piece:

Father Kapaun was among the chaplains sent to Korea to serve the troops. For a while everything worked in favor of the South Koreans and their American protectors. In fact, not only did this alliance drive the Communist North Koreans out of South Korea, but it pressed all the way to the Korean border with China.

Then, the bottom fell out. Surely fearing a complete end of Communism on the peninsula, China, by them Communist itself, poured its own troops into the fray. The American- South Korean forces were pushed back, almost into the surrounding seas.

It was at this time that Father Kapaun's unit was captured. With his comrades, he became a prisoner of war.

Prisoners of war are like any other prisoners. The greatest loss is freedom and the control of person. However, the Chinese-North Korean masters added special measures of horror to the lives of POWs.

It was in this horror that Father Kapaun was to spend the rest of the days of his life, and serve the rest of his priesthood.

It was in this time that he became a hero to his men and, to the believers among them, a saint.

Click HERE to read the entire story. See also the latest on Father Kapuan's canonization cause by clicking HERE.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Super Bowl spirituality

Just in time for the big game Sunday, Catholic Online has a profile of the two men who tend to the Indianapolis Colts' and New Orleans' spiritual needs — team chaplains Father Peter Gallagher (Colts) and Father R. Tony Ricard (Saints).

Father Gallagher told Catholic Online: “Prayer is a natural habit for this team. I have seen them grow in their faith, especially players that have been around for awhile. They have developed a sense of gratitude to God for all they have accomplished."

Click HERE to read the entire story. (h/t The Deacon's Bench)

In other Super Bowl news, the archbishops of Indianapolis and New Orleans have made a friendly wager on the outcome of the game. Indianapolis Archbishop Daniel Buechlein told the Catholic News Agency that he'll get gumbo if the Colts win. Otherwise, he'll be sending some Indiana pork chops to New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond if the Saints come out on top.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lucky priest could win trip to Rome

Catholic.net has announced a new contest tied in with the Year for Priests. The priest who writes an essay of 700 words or less on the most beautiful or impressive experience of priestly ministry will win a trip to Rome just in time for the closing of the special year.

The deadline is March 19.

Click HERE for rules and entry information.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Papal preacher: 'Fast with your eyes'

That's the advice on maintaining priestly celibacy that more than 5,500 priests heard when Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household, addressed the National Congress of the Clergy of the Philippines.

According to CathNews USA, Father Cantalamessa told the clergy that they should “fast from images,” specifically ones from the Internet and television that could be threats to celibacy.

“God created the eyes, but he also created the eyelids to cover them,” he remarked, to much laughter.

Click HERE to read more of the talk.