Bp. Finn (D. Kansas City-St.J) on vocations

This is the Year of Priests.  I think it is fair, especially during this year, when talking about the Year of Priests, we talk about vocations to the priesthood.

Let us not forget that every person has a vocation.  All vocations need to be fostered, for each person has something unique to contribute in God’s plan.

I found this on the site of The Catholic Key, newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO.

My emphases and comments.

Vocations are Still a “Super-Priority”

By Bishop Robert W. Finn
Kansas City-St. Joseph

In my first months as bishop of the diocese I said Vocations were a “Super Priority.[Do I hear an "Amen!"?] While we have had a meaningful increase in vocations to priesthood, the diaconate, and some new vocations to consecrated life, I still offer this intention for more vocations to priesthood and Consecrated Life with fervor in my daily prayer. I hope you do also.

We are reaching the midpoint of the Year for Priests, inaugurated by Pope Benedict XVI last June. How proud I am of our priests who do so much for you, God’s people. Still, they need more help, particularly as the pastoral needs seem always to increase. This year, please God, we will ordain four new priests; and it remains possible that in 2012 we could celebrate the ordination of eight or nine new priests at once. I haven’t figured out how we will get everyone in the Cathedral; a pleasing dilemma[Do I hear an "Amen!"?]

Am I greedy to suggest that we need more priests? [Heck NO!  MORE! We want MORE!] I believe that God is calling more men to this wonderful vocation, and we have to listen carefully and prepare well so that your sons can hear and answer that call. [NB: You have a role in all vocations to the priesthood.]

What kind of life awaits the priest? To be sure, there are many joys, and also challenges. The priest is helped by God to give himself to many people. He shares in the greatest joys of people’s lives and is with them in times of hardship and sorrow. He is a pastor, a shepherd, a teacher, and spiritual father. He stands in the place of Jesus Christ, particularly in the Sacrifice of the Mass and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

How does a man discern a possible vocation to priesthood? The healthy man (healthy in body, mind and soul), as he matures, wants to give himself in an honest and generous way. It is important and normal that he sees the beauty of marriage, and its central meaning and purpose in society. At the same time, he realizes he has a spiritual dimension to his life and he wants to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and follow God’s call wherever it may take him. He works hard at every task before him, and finds joy in generously reaching out to others. He studies with zeal. He prays. He establishes caring friendships, and determines to live a moral life, growing in the frequent reception of the sacraments, particularly of Confession and Holy Eucharist.

As a man experiences this spiritual depth to his life, he does not seek a vocation that makes him materially rich or famous. Instead, having realized something of the cost and demands of authentic human love, he is ready to trust God and give himself to others out of love for God. He realizes that the Father in heaven has loved him a lot, and the awareness of this love and mercy makes him want to follow God’s plan in his life. Our seminarians are responding to this vocation to the priesthood. Our priests are living this out with dedication. Keep praying for them to persevere.

The role and support of parents is very important to those who are discerning God’s call. Your sons (and daughters) look up to you for approval. They should. Your love for them is unconditional and unselfish. I do not suggest that you should urge your sons to go to seminary, but pray for them, that they do whatever God wants for them. Support them in their search. I pledge once again to our parents that if we receive their sons as our seminarians we will do all in our power to see they get good formation[This is the sort of things which, in my day, I couldn’t dream of.]

Over the course of my priesthood, I have also had occasion to meet many outstanding men and women Religious. I was taught by and have worked closely with several Orders of Religious Women. There is a real renewal taking place in these vocations today. I have established an office for Consecrated Life, and we stand ready to direct young women and men who may be drawn to Religious life as priests, sisters or brothers.

Our Vocation Director, Fr. Richard Rocha, and the Director of our Office of Consecrated Life, Sr. Connie Boulch, will be pleased to receive your call (816-756-1850) or go to our diocesan website www.diocese-kcsj.org and look for the Vocations tab. Let us never cease to do as Jesus urged us: “Beg the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers for His harvest.” (Lk 10:2)

[And for those of you in Kansas City!] Don’t forget the Support Our Seminarians (S.O.S.) Dinner Auction coming up Friday, January 29, 2010. Your participation and/or donations are greatly appreciated. For information, call the vocation office at 816-756-1850.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Deacon Nathan Allen says:

    “The ability to cultivate vocations to the priesthiood and the religious life is a sure sign of the health of a local Church.” –Pope Benedict XVI in response to questions by the bishops of the United States in Washington DC on April 16, 2008

  2. Wow, Father — you seem very enthusiastic (and that’s a good thing)! :-)

    Having said that, I think it’s great that Bishop Finn would put this on top of his agenda! In fact, considering the lack of vocations and able teachers of the true Church these days, I think it’s actually necessary that a bishop should put this on his “Top 10” list.

    I just hope, though, that this Year for Priests won’t become this one-time jolt that will then wane onto the sunset and everyone forgets the lesson. Let’s pray that every year will be a year for Vocations!

  3. Maltese says:

    My son has thrown around the idea of becoming a Priest. I’d be honored to have him as such, but will DEFINITELY advocate a Traditional order, in communion with Rome, such as FSSP:


    Btw., as an aside, I just read that General Sherman’s son was a Priest!

  4. Mike says:

    Sherman’s son was a priest, educated at Georgetown College.

    I just read recently in SALT OF THE EARTH (interview w. Ratzinger) that he rightly said celibate life and married life are both noble in that they ask a lot of people, they make demands. “Anything less than monogomous marriage is unworthy of man”, as the Cardinal said.

    We need to bring to the fore this thought: if you love, you will sacrifice–the gift of self. We will have better–holier–priests and families, and hence, more priests (!) when we live this.

  5. His Excellency is correct to put the need for vocations at the top of his intentions. Indeed, this should be something that everybody prays for from the Pope downwards. Our Lord will send workers if we ask for them. If we don’t, well…

  6. michelelyl says:

    Since this is the month designated by the USCCB as the month to focus on vocations, we started adding to our closing prayer service each week for Religious Education this prayer http://www.scborromeo.org/prayers/vocat5.pdf My parish also faithfully holds a Year of the Priest Holy Hour on the first Thursday of each month, followed by a short reception sponsored by a different parish group. So far, we’ve had Religious Education, The Altar Society, Pastoral Council, Music Ministry, The Catholic Daughters, Knights of Columbus, Youth Ministry and RCIA Candidates and Catechumens as sponsors!
    We pray for vocations at all Masses every Sunday, and 3 families volunteer to pray all week each week for vocations!

  7. kab63 says:

    I have had people at church, including our pastor, mention my son’s reverence as an acolyte and their belief he would make a good priest. I pass these comments along to him, although my son becomes self-conscious at the attention. I believe my son has difficulty reconciling his interests in fiction, movies and gaming with a priest’s life. (He’s 18, what can I say?) When I say that you, Father Z, are working out to Halo he really perks up. Our pastor is incredibly vibrant, but also a hard act to follow. I’m sure my son looks at this 65 year old man and can never imagine himself in that role. Fortunately, we are blessed with a young seminarian who will be ordained at the end of the year. I look forward to this young man becoming a priest and hope that his journey will inspire my sons to consider a vocation. It’s such a fine line, isn’t it, between encouraging a son and bearing down on one?

  8. Lee says:

    How are our young people supposed to hear the call of the Holy Spirit to ANY vocation? From the moment they wake up till the moment they go to sleep radio, TV, ipods, video games, movies are pumping noise, distraction and emotional chaos into these young temples of the Holy Spirit.

    A bishop who wants a plethora of vocations could hardly do better than to mount an intense campaign to get television out of the Catholic home and to get the lives of the saints and other good, wholesome literature in, to get families reading together in the evening, singing together, praying and playing together. Family Evenings Together would do it.

    If even five percent of the young families in his diocese responded favorably to such a program, he would have all the vocations he could handle within fifteen to twenty years.

  9. Jayna says:

    Bishop Luis Zarama – our new auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Atlanta – was at my church on Saturday for Confirmation (over 100 kids all told). He put in a plug for vocations at the end of the Mass before the dismissal. I believe his big selling point was that “even in this economy, you’ll always have a job.” He got quite the laugh from that.

  10. Hans says:


    you could direct your son to sqpn.com. It was started by an enthusiastic young (well, he seems young to me!) orthodox Dutch priest, Fr. Roderick Vonhögen, with the permission of his archbishop to evangelize over the internet (admittedly a simplified history, but that’s basically the story).

    Fr. R. has interests in fiction, movies and gaming, as your son could hear especially in Breakfast with a Priest (formerly The Daily Breakfast), which has had over 700 episodes, plus he produces a number of other podcasts, hosts a Dutch TV program, is working on a book (on St. John Chrysostom?), and more, plus he serves in a parish with perhaps six (I can’t remember the exact number) churches.

    Fr. Roderick is one of the early podcasters, starting before the death of John Paul the Great in Rome with Catholic Insider. His podcasts at the time of JPII’s death and funeral, and then at the subsequent Conclave, are extraordinary.

  11. Frank H says:

    Lee, you remind me if a story. Three years ago I mentioned to our transitional deacon that one of my sons was thinking he heard God’s call. The deacon said that in this day and age, with all the noise and distractions, if a young man thinks he is hearing a call, he probably is.

    My son just completed his first semester of pre-theology at the Pontifical College Josephinum seminary!

  12. Incaelo says:

    We need bishops and priests like Bishop Finn, who actively encourage young men and women to discern their vocation and to not be afraid to answer. That, combined with a healthy foundation in teh parishes.

    Great piece of writing, and recogniseable too, for one who is discerning his own vocation.

  13. irishgirl says:

    How I wish that all the Bishops here in the US would be like Bishop Finn!

    Great piece of writing by him!

  14. I just made a call to the diocese :)

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