Diocese of Salt Lake City to host year-long devotion for vocations

Friday, Nov. 14, 2014
Diocese of Salt Lake City to host year-long devotion for vocations + Enlarge
By Christine Young
Intermountain Catholic
SALT LAKE CITY — The Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, invites the diocese to pray for and to promote vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life through 40-hour devotions that will begin Nov. 30, and continue for a year.
Bishop Wester furthered encouraged parents to have their children “think about a religious or priestly vocation and to pray for openness to the invitation,” in his ‘From the Bishop’ column in the Nov. 7 issue of the Intermountain Catholic. 
During the year, each parish and mission in the diocese has been assigned a week to prayerfully participate in one 40-hour devotion period that will be made in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament with an emphasis on praying for vocations in this diocese. 
Parishes may choose to conduct this devotion in one of three ways: 40 continuous hours over a three-day period, 10 hours of devotion over a four-day period, or eight hours a day over a five-day period. 
The Cathedral of the Madeleine will be the first parish to begin the devotion. Father Martin Diaz, pastor, and Father Jose Barrera, parochial vicar, have proposed that exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will be Dec. 9 and 10 following the 8 a.m. Mass until 5 p.m. each day; and Dec. 11, following the 5:15 p.m. Mass until 10:30 p.m. 
The diocese has established the 40-hour devotions because “first, we ask God to send vocations to our Catholic communities, then we do our part also to invite young men and women to ask God if they are being called to religious life or the priesthood,” said Fr. Diaz. “What is lacking today is that young people are not asking God if they are being called to a vocation. I think there is a lack of understanding of what discernment is; young people think it’s going to be more like Saint Paul’s conversion – struck down by a blinding light and then they will know.”
During prayer, “we are praying that young adults will sit quietly and ask God what he is calling them to do,” Fr. Diaz said. “Discernment is not a one-time event; it requires people to make a choice to attend daily Mass as often as possible, and to pray at home to see what God is asking of them. We are not looking for 200 people, we are looking for 10 to 20 young people who have been called by God in this special way of service in the Church.”
The Diocese of Salt Lake City has seven seminarians: two are studying at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, two are studying at Saint Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif., and three are at Mount Angel Seminary in Portland, Ore. 
Most of the priests in the diocese are coming from other countries and Bishop Wester “is asking for priests and the laity to promote vocations within our diocese,” said Deacon Ricardo Arias, director of the Vocations Office for the Diocese of Salt Lake City. The majority of Catholics in Utah are Hispanic; one of the requirements of a seminarian is to learn another language. An Anglo seminarian must learn Spanish and a Hispanic seminarian must learn English.   
“It is very important that our current priests be good witnesses of their vocation because if the young people see a priest that is involved with the community, helping the people, that is motivation for the young men to become a diocesan priest,” said Deacon Arias. “Also, if young people are not invited by the priest in their parish to know more about their faith and the Church, then they won’t feel called to the priesthood. Usually the priest is the one who promotes the call; they know their community and they can approach the people.”
To learn when the 40-hour Devotion for Vocations is scheduled at your parish, check with your parish office.

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