"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11
While the term "vocation" is most commonly linked to the call to priesthood or religious life, the vast majority of the Church are called to the vocation of being a lay man or woman charged with playing an active part in the mission of being Catholic in their community. As Jesus put it, his followers are "the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13), living their faith in the midst of society. We must assume the call to holiness in everyday life, sanctifying the home and workplace by being living witnesses of our Catholic faith. As the Catechism of the the Catholic Church states: “By reason of their special vocation it belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them in according to God’s will…"
While in full recognition of the value and importance of all vocations -- whether that be married life, single life, parenthood, or a particular profession -- our Lynnfield Catholic Collaborative Pastoral Plan has set the promotion of an "ongoing culture of vocations to the diocesan priesthood" as one of our goals.
"Many Are Called" Vocations Chalice Program
The purpose of the Chalice Program is to encourage individuals and families to pray and promote priestly vocations to the Archdiocese of Boston. The Chalice is a tangible reminder of this special intention for the Church. The Second Vatican Council highlights the responsibility of the laity to pray for and support vocations to the priesthood.
Every two weeks at Mass, an assigned family, couple, or individual is called forward to receive the Vocation Chalice Kit and a special blessing. This kit contains a chalice, Bible, battery-operated candle, table mat, and a simple prayer service. The Vocation Chalice Kit is taken home and set up in a place of honor where the prayer service can be prayed. We ask that the individual or family set aside time once a day to pray for an increase and perseverance of priestly vocations to the Archdiocese of Boston. At the conclusion of the two week period, the family brings the kit back to the assigned Mass and at that time will pass it on to the next family in view of the gathered assembly.
Prayer for Vocations
At every weekend Mass, we recite a Prayer for Vocations:
Lord, you have always been our Good Shepherd and great High Priest. In every age we believe you call others to follow your example and be of special service to your holy people. It is not always easy to understand the way you want us to follow you. Send your Spirit, Lord, so that all those you call will know how to respond with a generous heart and come to experience that peace which is a sign of your love for us. Amen.
Vocations Panel Discussion
On February 26, 2017, our Collaborative hosted a panel to promote vocations to the priesthood. Led by Father Daniel Hennessey, Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Boston, the panel also included Deacon John Cronin and Corey Bassett-Tirrell, both seminarians at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, as well as Francis Pham, a former Cistercian monk who served as a Pastoral Associate at our Lynnfield Catholic Collaborative for three years as he continued his journey to diocesan priesthood.
Supporting Seminarians in Formation
Our pastor considers it part of our Lynnfield Catholic community's duty to help support and mentor seminarians in their priestly formation. Every year, our parish hosts a fourth-year transitional deacon for his internship in parish life. While he continues his final semesters of study at the seminary during the week, he resides at our parish during the weekends. Through this practical training, seminarians gain experience baptizing babies and preaching at Mass, get a glimpse at the administrative duties of a parish priest, work with the various ministries that make a parish tick, and learn how to make real connections with the people they serve. It's an apprenticeship in the rhythm and flow of parish life, and is in some ways the capstone to ensure that the four pillars of priestly formation -- human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral -- have come together so they can fruitfully minister to God's people.
In return, our faith community is enriched by the experience, friendships are made, and a shared sense of pride is found when the men return as priests to celebrate Mass in our churches.
We were blessed to have two seminarians assisting at our parish this past year, Deacon Antonio Lopez of Pope St. John XXIII Seminary in Weston and Colin McNabb of Saint John's Seminary in Brighton. Learn more about Deacon Antonio and Colin.
Our Vocations Committee continues to seek new volunteers. For more information, please contact our pastor, Father Paul Ritt, via email or at 781-598-4313 x201.