The first reading in Sunday’s Mass recounts the calling of Samuel by God. God revealed Himself in a special way to His prophets. No one simply decided, “I think I’ll be a prophet”. One had to be called by God. The same holds true in the New Testament, which is seen in the Gospel with the calling of the Apostles by Jesus. From the beginning God has called men to serve Him; He continues to do so today when He calls men to serve as priests. All my predecessor pastors here at SVdP and SSPP, all the priests serving in our diocese, and I all experienced that call. Certainly, such a call is felt in the heart of a man; it is an interior and personal experience. Nevertheless, in order to ensure that such a call is authentic, it needs to be confirmed by those to whom the Lord entrusted His pastoral care. In the case of Sunday’s first reading, it was Eli who helped Samuel discern that God was calling him. In the Church today the Bishop has that responsibility. He will often appoint others to assist him in this important task. Fr. Nate Kuhn, our Diocesan Vocation Director, visits all our seminarians during the school year (we have men studying at several seminaries), confers with their teachers and spiritual advisors, and ensures that each seminarian is receiving the proper academic, human, and spiritual formation necessary for him to discern his calling to the priesthood. Fr. Kuhn also works with the parish priests, and the Chaplains at our Catholic High Schools and Newman University parishes, to make more young men aware of the need for good priests and the need for each of them to consider his own vocation. Continue to pray for all our diocesan seminarians. And pray that they, and all young men and women, will be given the courage to consider well the plan that God has for them.
Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of Lent, is just a month away! In preparation for Lent I’m asking that you collect your palms from past years’ Palm Sunday, and place them in the box provided in the gather space (SVdP) and Holy Family Cenacle (SSPP). We will burn them after Mass on Sunday, February 11, and the ashes used to mark our heads on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14.
May God bless you!