Formation of Priests in present day circumstances is very challenging. This is because our families which are supposed to be places where vocations are nurtured are experiencing broken marriages. That is why we could not agree more with Pope John Paul II of blessed memory in his message ( Faith in the Divine Initiative, the human response Matthew 9:38)on vocations that “The Church’ first duty is to keep alive in families and in parishes, in movements (COSRA, CYO, CATHSU, CHARISMATIC RENEWAL, ST THERESA OF THE CHILD JESUS, CHRISTIAN MOTHERS ASSOCIATION, SACRED HEART CONFRATERNITY, ST ANTHONY’S GUILD, LEGION OF MARY ETC), … and all sectors of Diocesan life this appeal to the divine initiative with unceasing prayer. We must pray that the whole Christian people grow in its trust in God, convinced that the Lord of the harvest does not cease to ask some to place their entire existence freely at his service so as to work with them more closely in the mission of salvation .”
We are here, therefore, first of all, to remind you, our Lay Faithful, on the need to renew your efforts in praying for the increase in vocations to the Priesthood and the Religious Life. It is a divine imperative that demands a corresponding swift response, for the moment you stop praying, vocations will cease. If you doubt what we are saying “… think of the places where people anxiously await a priest and over the years of waiting have never ceased to hope for one. Sometimes they meet in an abandoned shrine …they recite all the prayers of the Mass until they come to the words of the consecration. Then a deep silence falls upon them, a silence sometimes broken by a sob … so ardently do they long to hear the words that only a priest can speak effectively. They long for Holy Communion for which they depend on the ministry of a priest, just as they also long to hear the words of pardon … how deeply do they feel the lack of a priest …” ( Pope John Paul II, Letter to Priests, 6th April, 1979).
Secondly, since prayer alone will not increase vocations, we have decided to meet the youth of this parish after Mass in order to interact with them and to encourage them to embrace this challenge.
We are also here to ask you to kindly support our annual general meeting which affords us the opportunity to gather as brothers to fellowship, to take stock of our lives and to encourage one another. This year’s General Meeting will take place on the 20th -22nd August, 2009 at the Catholic Youth Formation Centre, Lashibi.
We will like to use this opportunity to thank all of you for your unrelenting support for our formation. Be assured of our continuous prayerful support. It is said that those who pave the way for the great, pave the way for their own greatness. God richly bless you.