This weekend we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Easter. The Gospel passage is from Saint John. In it, Jesus says, “I am the gate for the sheep…Whoever enters through me will be saved.” We know that Christ is always present to us. In John’s Gospel, we have many of the “I am” sayings of Jesus. Some of them are: Vine, Shepherd, Resurrection, the Way, the Truth, the Life, etc. Today’s is the Gate. It is only through Christ that we learn the ways of discipleship. It is only through him that we are saved and that we come to eternal life. In him we find our strength to faithfully live our discipleship each day.
Today is the annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations. It is our responsibility as disciples to foster vocations. We are very aware of the declining number of priests and sisters. Many parishes, instead of priest pastors, have priest Sacramental Ministers. Both our active and senior priests are very busy covering the spiritual needs of our diocese. What can we do to promote vocations? One thing we can do each day is pray that God will touch the hearts of men and women to respond to his call to serve the Church. This can be part of our personal prayer or family prayer (at meals or night time). Another thing we can do is encourage others. If we notice qualities in someone that we think are well-suited to priesthood or religious life, simply ask the person if they have ever thought about it. We need to affirm those who are discerning a vocation or who are already in a formation program. This month of May, as we pray the rosary, the staff at Vianney Vocations suggests that each decade of the rosary be dedicated to one of the following: 1) that we may grow in holiness in our own vocation, 2) for all those called to marriage, 3) for those called to the permanent diaconate, 4) for those called to the Religious Life, and 5) for all those called to the Priesthood. Often, those who choose the generous Single Life get overlooked. Please pray for them as well, as theirs is a challenging vocation today.
This coming Tuesday at 2:30 PM, Bishop Cistone will celebrate the Dedication Mass of the newly renovated Cathedral. This is a very exciting time in the life of our diocese. The Dedication Mass is a beautiful liturgy. The many rituals contained within it give us a deepened awareness of who we are as Church and how we celebrate who we are as Church. I do hope that in the coming months you will be able to attend a Mass at the Cathedral and experience the transformation that has taken place in the worship space of the mother church of our diocese.
It is time once again for Nominations for Pastoral Council. Three positions need to be filled. Selection process will take place on June 4, the Solemnity of Pentecost. Nomination forms are in today’s bulletin.
Blessings on your Easter Days!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ