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

Friday, April 30, 2010

Testimonials on priests

EncouragePriests.org, a new lay outreach effort to supports priests, is seeking video and story submissions from Catholics about priests who've touched their lives.

Here are the submission requirements:

Written story submissions should be 250 words or less.

Video submissions must be 100MB or smaller and can be standard or high definition. If standard definition, video dimensions should be 480x360 if 4:3 video or 640x360 if 16:9 video. For high definition, dimensions are 1280x720 (720p) or 1920x1080 (1080p). Videos can be .WMV, .AVI, .MOV, .MP4, or .MPEG files.

Want more details? Visit the website or send an email to info@EncouragePriests.org.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Priests, seminarians step up for sisters

On May 2, a group of priests, seminarians and a deacon from the Diocese of Pittsburgh will be going the distance — 26.2 miles, to be exact — to raise money and awareness for young women who feel called to serve as women religious.

The men will race in the Pittsburgh Marathon or Marathon Relay as part of the Run For Nuns, which is a fundraiser to help the women pay off their educational debts so that they may enter religious communities.

One of the seminarians who is running, Patrick Caruso, explained his motivation for starting the Run For Nuns in a recent press release, “The world has seen many courageous witnesses to love through the lives of religious sisters such as Mother Teresa. These young women that we are trying to help out are eager to offer the same selfless service for the rest of their lives. While it could normally take years to pay off their debt, we simply want to provide the future sisters with the ability to start serving as soon as possible.”

The Run For Nuns is just one of many efforts to raise funds and awareness for vocations. Click HERE to read an OSV newsweekly piece about such efforts, including a mini-profile of Alicia Torres, one of the young women who will be helped through the Run For Nuns.

And check out this humorous Run For Nuns trailer below:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Good Shepherd Sunday insights

In honor of yesterday's Good Shepherd Sunday and the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has launched its new website, ForYourVocation.org. The site offers tips and prayers for men and women discerning a call to the priesthood or religious life, as well as advice and resources for their parents.

As the ForYourVocation.org homepage explains, the U.S. bishops have two goals for the site: to help individuals hear and respond to the call by God to the priesthood or consecrated life and to educate all Catholics on the importance of encouraging others through prayer and activities to promote vocations.

Also Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged young people to pray to be faithful witnesses to the Gospel. See the video below:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Meet the Class of 2010

With graduation season and summer just around the corner, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is introducing Catholics to its own Class of 2010 — the men who will soon be ordained to the priesthood.

The Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations has set up a special web page with a report on the Class of 2010 with all sorts of interested facts and figures about the future priests. For example, 67 percent of the ordinands report regularly praying the Rosary, while 65 percent participated in Eucharistic adoration before entering seminary.

One nifty feature on the page allows visitors to learn a little bit about many of the future priests. When visitors scroll over the pictures of an ordinand, a box pops up telling what people might be surprised to learn about him. For example, Father Christopher Fadok, O.P., writes "People might be surprised to know that I received two marriage proposals in college." Others write about their past jobs as government lawyers, music doctoral students and engineers.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A papal invitation

Pope Benedict XVI, through a letter from the Congregation of the Clergy, has invited all priests from all over the world to attend the concluding celebration of the Year for Priests, which ends June 11, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Festivities will take place June 9-11.

"The Pope wants to confirm the priests of the Church," the letter said. "Their presence in large numbers in St. Peter's Square will be a proactive and responsible way for priests to show themselves ready and unintimidated for the service of the humanity entrusted to them by Jesus Christ."

In doing so, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the congregation's head, wrote that priests could show their solidarity for the pontiff in the face of "unjust attacks" against him regarding clergy sex abuse cases.

The letter ended with the cardinal noting that the conclusion of the year should mark a new beginning for priests and their flocks:

"We, the People of God and its shepherds, want to thank the Lord for this privileged period of prayer and reflection on the priesthood. At the same time we want to be alert to what the Holy Spirit wants to say to us. Meanwhile we will return to the exercise of our mission in the Church and in the world with renewed joy and with the conviction that God, the Lord of history, remains with us, both in crises and in new times."

Click HERE to read the entire letter.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Speaker: Trials strengthen priesthood

Catholic News Service recently highlighted an address given by Msgr. Stephen Rossetti at the annual convention of National Federation of Priests' Councils in Houston, Texas, where he was honored with the organization's Touchstone Award.

During the April 13 speech, Msgr. Rossetti, who is a clinical associate professor of pastoral studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, told the audience that despite the negative media reports surrounding the priesthood these days, priests have a high level of job satisfaction.

"Rather than disintegrating under the pressure and stress of our day, it appears to me that our priests are becoming stronger," he said. "As the public negativity rises and the chorus of naysayers crescendos, I believe our priests and church are actually the better for it. Truly, the more the church suffers, the stronger it becomes."

Click HERE to see more of Msgr. Rossetti's comments and the results of his surveys on the priesthood.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

'The Voice of the Good Shepherd'

In his papal audience today, Pope Benedict XVI began a series of talks on the role of the priesthood. In his talk, he reflected on what it means for priests to act in persona Christi. In part, he said:

"In the unwritten book that is his life, a priest is always a teacher. Not with the presumption of those who impose their own truths but with the humble and joyful sincerity of those who have found the Truth, have been grasped and transformed by it and who therefore cannot stop announcing it."

"In fact, the priesthood is not chosen by anyone for himself. It is not a way of obtaining security in life or a social position. The priesthood is the answer to the Lord's call ... to become preachers, not of a personal truth, but of His truth."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Online support for priests

Catholics Come Home, an apostolate that aims to bring former Faithful back into the fold, is offering a sneak peek at its newest initiative, a website that offers support for priests.

You can check out a preview at EncouragePriests.org. The interactive site will launch, appropriately enough, on June 20, which is Father's Day and which also marks the conclusion of the special Year for Priests.

In a statement, Catholics Come Home founder Tom Peterson said: “It’s timely to launch this movement during the ‘Year for Priests’ as declared by Pope Benedict XVI (June 2009-June 2010), and to continue supporting the priesthood for many years to come! Our mission is to encourage priests, and promote priestly vocations through our love and prayers.”