Family prayer for priestly vocations

By ANNE SHAUGHNESSY
Family Formation, Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The priest shortage.  We see the effects of it all around us —one priest serving two or three parishes, less Masses being offered, fewer times offered for confessions ....The shortage of priests definitely affects us, the laity.  What can we do about it?  

Vocations to the priesthood are not something that we just pray for at Sunday Mass in the Prayers of the Faithful, or that we leave up to the vocation director or bishop.  Vocations to the priesthood come about because of the families and friends and teachers that our boys and young men have in their lives.  If we want more priests, the laity need to take on and embrace creating a culture of vocations.  And the most important place for this to happen?  In my opinion, it is the family.  In my family and your family, we need to create an environment where God’s call can be heard. 

Here are some ideas to help create that environment in your home.  Choose one or two and try it with your family.

Offering prayers for priestly vocations:  Praying for priestly vocations can be as simple as praying an “Our Father”, “Hail Mary”, “Memorare”,…with the intention of offering it for priestly vocations.  This can be done by your family anytime that you are together (mealtime, bedtime) and is especially easy for families to pray in the car (like on the way to babysitting/work).

Pray for our current and future priests:  Each day pray this prayer as a family and insert a priest’s name and the parishes he serves in.  Look for the list of the priests/seminarians in our diocese in this issue of the Southwest Kansas Catholic.  You can also print a copy of this prayer and a list of the priests in our diocese and the parishes he serves at dcdiocese.org.

Pray the rosary:  The rosary is a longer prayer for families to pray, especially those with small children.  Begin with one decade.  If you are rusty on how to pray the rosary or you never learned how to pray the rosary, go to http://joyfulcatholicfamilies.com/rosary-prayer-ring/ and print off the rosary prayer ring.  It takes you step-by-step through the rosary (all the words to the prayers are included).

Fast for vocations:  Join the priests in our diocese and fast on Thursdays for vocations.  As a family, give up one TV show, one dessert, one social media app,…on Thursdays.

Adoration:  Commit to spending time each week as a family in adoration for vocations.  Begin with five, ten, or fifteen minutes and slowly work up to a longer time. 

Family life can be very busy.  And with that busyness comes noise.  Taking a few minutes each day to pray for vocations to the priesthood as a family is a good way to give our children a few moments to reflect and listen to what God may be calling them to.  Vocations are a calling from God.  Let’s create an environment in our families where that call can be heard.