Vocation Prayer Chalice Program

As many of you know, I was the Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Chicago before becoming the Pastor at St. Josaphat Parish.  Consequently, praying for vocations and encouraging young people to be open to God’s call is very important to me.
Each year, I invite different priests and consecrated religious sisters and brothers to come and celebrate a School Mass with our community.  I want our students to see the many different ways God calls people to follow Him through vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.  These have been wonderful experiences for our students.  For many of our students, it’s the first time they have ever met a religious sister or got to ask questions about consecrated life.
We have also been blessed to have been a Teaching Parish for Mundelein Seminary my first four years as Pastor.  We were blessed to accompany Arthur Bautista and Nate Resila as they made their way through the seminary and were ordained as Priests.  And we have helped in the seminary formation of Andres Rojas and Tim Berryhill as they continue their formation to the priesthood.  I know our community has been greatly blessed by the experience of accompanying these men as they pursued their calling to the priesthood.
This year, however, we don’t have any seminarians assigned to us.  That’s because vocations are down here in Chicago and across the country.  Mundelein Seminary is at its lowest enrollment in decades!  That’s something that should concern all of us.
We need to do something about that.  We need to start praying intentionally each week as a community for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.  And I don’t want us to pray that someone else’s kid responds to the call.  We need to pray that our own children be open to God’s call to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life.  As I have said to all of you many times, the priesthood is a wonderful life.  I love being a priest!  So does Fr. Grassi, Fr. Chris Robinson and so does Fr. Arthur.  And if God is calling your child to the priesthood or consecrated life, they will love it too!
In order to encourage priestly and consecrated vocations, we are starting the Vocation Chalice Program at St. Josaphat Parish.  This program encourages families to pray regularly for vocations to priesthood and consecrated life. Each week a family will receive the Vocation Chalice at Mass and take it home with a promise to “pray for vocations” during that week. 
The family is asked to place the chalice in a prominent place in their home and gather together each day to pray around the chalice asking God to help raise up vocations in our parish. At the end of the week, the family will bring the chalice back to church so the next family can take it home. 
We hope that through prayer and speaking to our children about vocations that our parish may become a source of numerous vocations to serve the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Church. If you are interested in taking home the Vocation Chalice, please sign up!
Fr. Francis