Category Archives: News

The Eucharist and Vocations by Rev. John A. Hardon, S.J.

By Rev. John A. Hardon, S.J.

It is impossible to exaggerate the close relation between the Holy Eucharist and vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

This is only to be expected once we realize that every vocation is a special grace from God, and the greatest source of grace we have is the Eucharist as Presence, Sacrifice, and Communion.

Faith tells us that Christ is really present on our altars, that He really offers Himself in the Mass, and that we really receive Him in Holy Communion. In each case, the Living Christ is now inspiring men and women to give themselves to Him with all their hearts and follow Him in the extension of His Kingdom.

The Eucharist, therefore, is the best way to foster vocations. This means that persons who attend Mass, receive Communion and invoke Christ in the Blessed Sacrament obtain light and strength that no one else has a claim to.

The Eucharist is also the best way to recognize vocations. Show me a man or woman devoted to the Eucharist and I will show you a person who is an apt subject for the priesthood or the religious life.

The Eucharist is finally the infallible way of preserving one’s vocation. This is especially true of devotion to the Real Presence. Is it any wonder that saintly priests and religious over the centuries have been uncommonly devoted to the Blessed Sacrament? They know where to obtain the help they need to remain faithful to their vocations. It is from the same Christ Who called them and Who continues to sustain them in His consecrated service.

Vocations begin with the Eucharist; they are developed through the Eucharist; and they are preserved by the Eucharist. All of this is true because the Eucharist is Jesus Christ, still on earth, working through men and women whom He calls to share His Plan for salvation.

Son of Poland’s Prime Prime Minister Ordained FSSP Priest!

On May 29th, the Prime Minister of Poland, Beata Szydlo, and her husband, Edward, had the unique privilege of attending the first Mass of her newly ordained son, Fr. Tymoteusz Szydlo, at their home parish of Our Lady of Częstochowa in Przecieszyn in southern Poland. Father Szydlo is a member of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, an order founded in 1988 and known for celebrating Mass in the Extraordinary Form. “Human words are unable to express the gratitude I owe You, my God,” Father said. “Therefore, I humbly ask You to keep me in Your holy service.”

The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter was founded at the Abbey of Hauterive in Switzerland by a dozen priests and a score of seminarians. Their mission is the formation and sanctification of their priests, using the traditional liturgy of the Roman Rite to worship Our Lord and to serve the Church across the world. Shortly after their foundation, they moved to Germany, which is now the location of their European seminary. They also have a house of formation in Denton, Nebraska. Currently, there are 270 priests and 132 seminarians in the Fraternity serving in 124 dioceses including 34 in the United States.

“This is not an easy road,” the Prime Minister said. “especially these days I think young people like them have an extremely important mission to fulfill. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for … all of my son’s fellow seminarians and for my son. I hope they will persevere and do a lot of good for everyone, for all of us. They are wonderful young people.”

Visit the FSSP website for more information.

Using the ancient liturgy as our well-spring, we form our priests in the traditions of the Church to serve at the altar and in the parish so that the fullness of Christ might enter the emptiness of the world.

The Church Celebrates Religious Brotherhood

On May 1, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, the Church in the U.S. celebrated the first ever Religious Brothers Day. The day is the brainchild of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men and the Religious Brothers Conference, and highlights this often-hidden and under-appreciated vocation in the Church.

When I was thinking of orders that have brothers as members, I did not think of the Dominicans, but lo and behold, an article in the Catholic World Report talks about Dominican Cooperator Brothers, who have been a constant presence in the Order since the beginning! The Dominican Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province) has produced a short video highlighting the work of the Cooperator Brothers.

I would guess that a common question asked of brothers is—why did you not become a priest? The call to brotherhood is  call from God, just as the vocation to the priesthood is a call from God, freely chosen.

A Franciscan brother once said to me that in a priest there is barrier of sorts in his role “in persona Christi.” A brother is a man who is standing shoulder to shoulder with you in the trenches. He is accompanying you as a brother would a brother. Yet, at the same time, there is a great paternity about brothers. The holy ones I have known offer wisdom, course corrections, and fatherly concern. Maybe they are more approachable than a priest, because they seem to be the confidants of so many and are “one of us.”

The IRL has a newly revamped website dedicated to religious brotherhood called fittingly ReligiousBrotherhood.com.  In it are links to religious communities and organizations that support and embrace the vocation to religious brotherhood. Some are communities exclusively composed of brother members and others are mixed communities comprised of both priests and brothers. Here are the ones listed who are Affiliates of the IRL but go to our website to see the entire list and links direct to the communities.

Alexian Brothers – a lay, apostolic religious community of brothers, bound together by religious vows, who dedicate themselves primarily to live in community and to participate in the ministry of healing in the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Brigittine Monks – a monastic community, given to prayer and contemplation, according to the Rule of St. Augustine. This is an ancient way of life in its concept of the withdrawal from the mainsteam of activities of society; however, the monks seek to place its ancient traditions into this era, conveying its attraction and needfulness to the culture of our times.

The Brotherhood of Hope – a canonically recognized religious community of brothers who serve the new evangelization of Pope John Paul II, particularly by reaching out to lapsed and uncommitted Catholics, and are involved in college campus ministry and men’s retreats and conferences.

Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception – a congregation of priests and brothers, living in common according to the Rule of Saint Augustine, dedicating themselves to all the duties and offices of the pastoral ministry in the parishes where they serve.

Canons Regular of St. John Cantius – a Roman Catholic community of priests and brothers dedicated to a restoration of the sacred in the context of parish ministry, by helping others to rediscover a profound sense of the sacred through solemn liturgies, devotions, sacred art and music, as well as instruction in the heritage of the Church, catechetics and Catholic culture.

Conventual Franciscan Friars of St. Bonaventure Province – part of the worldwide Franciscan Order founded in 1209, they emphasize the “conventual” tradition and minister primarily in urban settings. The St. Bonaventure Province was founded in 1939 and its friars serve in Midwest parishes and foreign missions, in education and evangelization, shrine ministry and work with the poor.

Discalced Carmelite Friars, St. Joseph Province – followers of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, they live as brothers in community. With Mary as their patroness, they serve Christ and His Church through ministries of prayer, presence, evangelization and pastoral care.

Franciscan Brothers of Peace – a religious institute of brothers founded in 1982 by Brother Michael Gaworski to live and proclaim “The Gospel of Life” by devoting themselves to serving and defending the most vulnerable of our society.

The Friars of the Sick Poor of Los Angeles – a community whose mission and vision is to give themselves to God in the service of the sick poor and marginalized, whom they receive in God’s name as they follow Christ more closely while “living in the midst of the world.” Hope is the friars’ charism in which they assist the sick poor and marginalized to find meaning in their suffering and sickness as being redemptive, inviting them to a fuller life within the Church. The friars remain “Ever ready to tell them the reason for our hope.”

Institute of Charity – a religious congregation of priests and brothers, also known as the Rosminians, founded by Bl. Antonio Rosmini, whose ideal of “universal charity” underlies their way of life and emphasizes a desire to live closer to Christ and His teaching by trusting completely in divine providence and love of God.

Missionaries of Mariannhill – a pontifical mission congregation in the United States and sixteen other countries, comprised of priests, brothers, sisters, and lay missionaries, founded by Abbot Francis Pfanner. Their apostolate is to bring the Faith to those places where the Church is not yet established or has disappeared.

Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary – a religious congregation of priests and brothers, dedicated to serving the needs of God’s family while witnessing the great love present in the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Order of Our Lady of Mercy – also known as the Mercedarians, this is an international community of priests and brothers, founded in 1218, who live a life of prayer and communal fraternity based on the Rule of Saint Augustine and serve in schools, prisons, hospitals and foreign missions.

Salesians of St. John Bosco – a society of apostolic life made up of seminarians, clerics and laymen who complement each other to carry out St. Don Bosco’s apostolic plan in a specific form of religious life: to be in the Church signs and bearers of the love of God for young people, especially those who are poor.

Servants of Charity – a community of religious priests and brothers, also known as the Guanellians, they work with developmentally disabled children and adults.

Enroll Now for the Vita Consecrata Institute!!

The deadline for priests, religious and other consecrated persons to enroll in this summer’s Vita Consecrata Institute is fast approaching (June 1)!

The VCI is an enriching two or four-week program of graduate level studies in Spirituality and the Theology of the Consecrated Life. Held at Christendom College, the VCI is highly recommended for those preparing for vows and for those with formation or leadership roles in a community.

The 2017 courses offered are:

The Virtues in the Spiritual Life                                                                         (Rev. Brian Mullady, O.P.)                                                                                            This course examines the key moral virtues for successful living the consecrated life. These virtues are first summarized in general, then particular virtues are treated such as: prudence, religion, magnanimity, patience, and perseverance, etc.—and how to develop them in fidelity to a rule of life. The intention is to show that the consecrated life is both a call and a means to heroic virtue.

Scriptural Foundations of the Consecrated Life              
                        (Rev. Gregory Dick, O.Praem.)                                                                              This course will examine the Scriptural foundations of the consecrated life as found in the Gospels and other New Testament writings, especially those of Saint Paul.

Ecclesiology and the Consecrated Life                                                           (Rt. Rev. Eugene Hayes, O.Praem.)                                                                     This course presents the ecclesiology of Vatican II, and an examination of the nature of renewal and the ecclesiology of communion. The topics covered serve as a basis for developing an ecclesial spirituality that emphasizes the universal call to holiness and the need for all the baptized, but especially those in the consecrated life, to participate in the life and mission of the Church.

Vatican II and the Consecrated Life                                                                (Rev. Thomas Nelson, O.Praem.)                                                                             This course examines the documents of Vatican II, along with the post-Conciliar teaching on consecrated life, especially that of Pope St. John Paul II, including Redemptionis Donum and Vita Consecrata.

 Click here to see the flyer and for enrollment information. Limited scholarship money may be available.

Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy at the St. John Paul II National Shrine

Late in 2016, two sisters from the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy were sent  to the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, DC, to minister to the many pilgrims who come to this sacred place. You will know these sisters as the community which St. Faustina entered in 1925 and received the revelations of God’s Divine Mercy for our times.

The Knights of Columbus announced the establishment of a shrine dedicated to Pope John Paul II in 2011. It has proven to be a popular pilgrimage spot for visitors to the capital, especially K of C groups and participants in the annual March for Life. The Knights first met the sisters  in Krakow at the Divine Mercy Shrine. They have worked together during World Youth Day, on the film “The Face of Mercy” and other projects.

Each day at the shrine at 3:00pm, the sisters lead the prayer for the Hour of Mercy. One a month, they host “Evenings with the Merciful Jesus” for young people. Other events and scheduled exhibits are held throughout the year.

A first-class relic of St. John Paul II’s blood is contained in a glass ampoule at the center of a reliquary in the Luminous Mysteries Chapel, for veneration by pilgrims. This relic was given as a gift to Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson by His Eminence Stanisław Cardinal Dziwisz, Archbishop of Kraków and personal secretary to John Paul II.

“We understand our presence in the shrine as a continuation of St. John Paul II’s mission to spread the message of Divine Mercy,” said Sister Gaudia, “the message about God whose love is greater than we can imagine.”

It is wonderful that many people are introduced here for the first time to the Divine Mercy message. “St. John Paul II called the message of mercy the message of hope for our times,” said Sister Donata. “We believe that this shrine, which attracts more and more people from faraway places, is a special place where people find new hope, which has the power to change their lives.”

To read the whole article in Columbia magazine, click here!

 

Terre Haute Carmel Growing and Inviting Women to a Weekend Visit!

A few years ago, I had the blessing to visit the Carmelite monastery in Terre Haute, Indiana. Since that time, their community has really blossomed with young vocations! There are twelve solemnly professed sisters, one who has professed temporary vows and 3 novices. They also have 2 sisters living with them from China who are learning skills for forming young sisters. All this adds to a vibrant community!

If you would like to learn  more about their life as Daughters of St. Teresa of Avila, there is an opportunity coming up. The nuns are hosting a discernment retreat weekend on May 26-28, 2017, at their monastery. During the weekend, you will have the opportunity to learn about the Carmelite way of life and participate in their monastic schedule, inside the enclosure of the monastery. You will also join the nuns for Mass, recreation and meals. What a privilege!

COME & SEE!

The monastery can trace their roots back to the foundation of the United States and almost back to St. Teresa herself!  Here is a brief summary of their history:

The journey in Terre Haute began on the Feast of the Holy Rosary on October 7, 1947. The bishop wanted a second Carmel in his diocese to be a presence of prayer in an area where there were few Catholics.  The Indianapolis Carmel, who responded this this request, traced its own roots back to the Bettendorf and Baltimore Carmels, to the original foundation made at Port Tobacco in 1790. This Monastery was the first house of Catholic religious women founded in the original thirteen colonies of the United States of America. The nuns who founded Port Tobacco, in turn, came from Hoogstraet Carmel in the Lowlands. Hoogstraet Carmel was under the direct influence of Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew, St. Teresa’s trusted companion and nurse, who had spread the Holy Mother’s vision of Carmel into countries and cultures far beyond its birthplace in Spain.

For more information about the discernment weekend, please contact Sr. Clare Joseph, OCD, at vocations@heartsawake.org or visit www.heartsawake.org.