Intentional Disciples & Vocations
By Father Matthew Wertin
Whenever a woman is pregnant, we know that too much stress, alcohol or other substances can be harmful to the child.
We also know that things like pre-natal vitamins, good nutrition and soothing words or music greatly benefit the little one growing in the womb. Once the baby is born, one of the most essential elements of their positive development is to be held by loving hands, since the lack of touch can stunt growth, causing a “failure to thrive.” In helping us feel protected and loved, Jesus says in the Gospel: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, & they follow me…No one can take them out of my hand” (John 10: 27-28). This kind of security affords us the courage to not only live, but THRIVE! It’s what allows us to find the specific vocation, or calling, God has placed on our lives, for our own personal fulfillment plus the benefit of others. May 7 is not only Good Shepherd Sunday, but also a major opportunity for us to do something every meaningful to help our Diocese begin to THRIVE in the area of vocations. On the same day we are asked to celebrate the World Day of Prayer for Vocations (search this title at www.usccb.org for more info and resources), for which Pope Francis has selected the theme, “Led by the Spirit for mission.”
Fr. Emil Kapaun, who served as a military chaplain in the Korean War, was recently awarded the Medal of Honor for saving hundreds of lives through acts of mercy, before dying as a prisoner of war. Safe in the hands of Jesus, to say that he thrived is an understatement. He’s up for canonization! Having started out as a simple parish priest in the Diocese of Wichita, you may be curious about how they’re doing with vocations to the priesthood. Not quite twice as big as the Diocese of Pueblo, they have over 50 seminarians!
This is not only due the power of one heroic priest’s life, but how they are very serious about living the Catholic faith. It shows in how they tithe, in their groups and programs, and in their many vibrant parishes. There is no “failure to thrive” in Wichita, because of how they choose to be intentional disciples of Jesus, which this year’s Study Days can help us with as well, so that the tide can change for us, too. We can THRIVE, especially when we capitalize on both of these upcoming opportunities and consent to what our Holy Father himself prays for:
LORD of the Harvest,
BLESS young people with
the gift of courage to respond
to your call.
Open their hearts to great
ideals, to great things.
INSPIRE all of your disciples
to mutual love and giving—
for vocations blossom in the good soil of faithful people.
INSTILL those in religious life, parish ministries, and families
with the confidence and grace to invite others to embrace
the bold and noble path of
a life consecrated to you.
UNITE us to Jesus through prayer and sacrament,
so that we may cooperate
with you in building your
reign of mercy and truth,
of justice and peace.