The Lord doesn’t require us to achieve a certain level of measurable success, but only to be faithful. St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta said this during her long life of ministry to the poor of India, and it is important that all of us take stock of that call at the end of this year.
In the Department of Vocations, success could very easily be measured: How many new seminarians do we have signed up for next year? It is tempting for me to take stock in this way, and yet constantly the Lord gives me examples of how success does not exist in hard numbers. In this year, my first year (or at least part of a year) as the full-time Vocation Director, I have seen our seminarians be formed into more virtuous men who look out for one another and have a deep love for the people of our diocese. I have watched as many discerners have experienced a taste of seminary life and have learned more about God’s call for them. I have spoken with many of you about sharing a vision for the future health of our diocese by supporting the mission of this department. There is one way in which worldly “success” can be measured, but there are many more ways that faithfulness can be measured.
Disciples of the Lord are known by the fruits that they produce in the world, and there have been many fruits born from this department this year. One of the greatest is the unity of the seminarians that we currently have and their dedication to praying for one another. In the summer Bishop Kopacz and seminarian Ryan Stoer came up with a plan to pray for one another more intentionally. On the first Thursday of every month, the seminarians, myself and Bishop Kopacz have committed to praying a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament from 6-7 a.m. Since we started this in August, we all have experienced an increase in our bond of charity that goes beyond a dinner together or shared experiences of formation. This is what I am most excited to share with you as we look toward a new year. I have no idea how many new seminarians we will have in the Fall of 2021, but I am hopeful. I am hopeful because the faith of the men who are a part of this mission with me and of so many of you who have helped financially and spiritually this year is strong.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Please pray for more laborers for the harvest, and pray that the men who are laboring now, including myself, remain faithful.