By David Cooley
“The world looks to the priest because it looks to Jesus! No one can see Christ; but everyone sees the priest, and through him they wish to catch a glimpse of the Lord! Immense is the grandeur and dignity of the priest.
“Pray, therefore, to the Lord of the harvest, that he send harvesters into his harvest… Considering that the Eucharist is the greatest gift our Lord gives to his Church, we must ask for priests, since the priesthood is a gift for the Church. We must pray insistently for this gift. We must ask for it on our knees.”
These are the words of Pope St. John Paul II, often called a champion of priestly vocations, and, according to Father Andrew Young, vocations promoter, are great words to reflect on as the Diocese of Covington prepares for its second deanery event for the Year of Prayer for Priestly Vocations. The Holy Hour for Vocations and vespers is scheduled to take place Monday, March 19, 5:30 p.m., at St. Joseph Parish, Cold Spring. Everyone is encouraged to attend the Holy Hour to pray for an increase in priestly vocations, especially the faithful of the Campbell County Deanery.
“The idea is to try and pull those parish communities from that particular deanery together in a central location to pray for vocations,” said Father Young. “Vocations are a gift and we need to be actively praying for them.”
Father Young said that most, if not all, of the priest from that deanery will be present.
“One of the things that I have emphasized to our priests is that us, as priests, coming together to pray for the future of the diocese and leading our people in that movement of prayer can’t help but be effective, especially if there is a young man at that Holy Hour who is on the fence and thinking about entering the seminary,” Father Young said. “The visual of 20 or so priests praying for him as well as, hopefully, a large group of lay people is a visible witness of support. That is huge for somebody who is thinking about the priesthood and might encourage him to take that next step.”
Following the Holy Hour that will bring people together for Eucharistic adoration and evening prayer, men who are interested in learning more about the priesthood are invited to a dinner with Bishop Roger Foys and the priests. The Serra Club for Vocations, Northern Kentucky is providing the meal.
“This will be a relaxed atmosphere but I am asking a couple of the priests who are going to be there to give a short reflection on their ministry and their experience in priesthood,” he said.
“I hope these events keep growing. I thought the first one we held in Northern Kenton County was a good success, but I would love to see a bigger presence of our faithful at the Holy Hour.”
Father Young said that he hopes many will come to pray at this special event and also encourage those they know that seem like they may have a calling or would be good priests to come as well.
In the words of Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, “It is important to encourage and support those who show clear signs of a call to priestly life and religious consecration and to enable them to feel the warmth of the whole community as they respond ‘yes’ to God and the Church.”