There will be no daily Masses during the next two weeks (June 21-July 4).
Letter from the Pastor
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
As many of you might know, this coming Friday, June 24th I will be celebrating my 10th anniversary to the priesthood. As usual, I thought it ever so pertinent to contemplate yet again on this awesome gift of the priesthood. This gift of God to his bride the Church is fundamentally a call from God to men who willingly lay down their lives for all in imitation of Christ. As we read in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis,
“In the Church and on behalf of the Church, priests are a sacramental representation of Jesus Christ – the head and shepherd – authoritatively proclaiming his word, repeating his acts of forgiveness and his offer of salvation – particularly in baptism, penance and the Eucharist, showing his loving concern to the point of a total gift of self for the flock, which they gather into unity and lead to the Father through Christ and in the Spirit.” (PDV, no. 15)
Throughout history men have willingly embraced this daunting yet grace-filled vocation “to prolong the presence of Christ, the one high priest.” (PDV, no. 15) This call to the priesthood, which is heard in the hearts of men, is answered at different moments of their lives. However, the formation of each priest and future priest began the moment they received life in the womb of their mothers.
Many have asked me what my parents did in raising my siblings and me that led me to embrace the priesthood. My answer is essentially that they cultivated in us a love for God and the Church while teaching us the importance of praying through the intercession of the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph for the clarity in one’s vocation and the grace to accept whatever vocation God might be calling you to live. Besides teaching us these things, they themselves set the example for us children of our human need of kneeling before God in prayer.
Ultimately, it was prayer that led me and all my brother priests to embrace this call to the priesthood. In the face of a “crisis” or “storage” of priestly vocations, I would just echo the words of Jesus as found in the Gospel of St. Luke, “The harvest is abundant but laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” In this passage our Lord reminds us of our need to turn toward Him in prayer for vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Here lies our total act of faith in the Holy Spirit, an act of trusting abandonment that our Lord’s promise will endure. However this “total trust in God’s unconditional faithfulness to his promise is accompanied in the Church by the grave responsibility to cooperate in the action of God who calls, and to contribute toward creating and preserving the conditions in which the good seed, sown by God, can take root and bring forth abundant fruit.” (PDV, no.2) Here the Church gently reminds us that we must never cease to pray to the Lord for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Therefore maybe for starters, we might faithfully pray on a daily basis the prayer for vocations for the Diocese of Savannah:
“O God, hear our prayer and let our cry come unto you. Bless our Diocese of Savannah with many vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life. Give the men and women You call the light to understand Your gift and the love to follow always in the footsteps of Your priestly Son. Amen.”
Pax et bonum,
Fr. Justin R. Ferguson