Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As you will hear over the next couple of weeks, the Diocese of Trenton is undertaking a program to promote vocations to the priesthood known as Called By Name. We’re not the first diocese to use this model in order to boost vocations, places like Philadelphia and Baltimore have employed it and found success.
Here in our diocese, we’re hopeful that it will help identify men who possess the qualities that would make for a fine priest. Where this program differs from others is the need for parish involvement. Many of these initiatives are focused on helping the individual realize his vocation. While such an approach is important in many ways, it fails to recognize that no one person lives in isolation. By inviting the community into the process,
Called By Name allows those around good candidates to give voice to what they see in the men living in their midst. At the heart of Called By Name, parishioners are asked to prayerfully consider the qualities of what makes a good priest and who in their lives meet those standards. Once that happens, any and all parishioners are invited
to submit that person’s name on a card for a follow up from the Diocesan Vocation Office.
As someone who has felt the call to the priesthood and am currently living that vocation, I can tell you that there is something profound that this method taps into.
For a number of years, I was unsure if my thoughts on becoming a priest were valid. Was God really calling ME to be a priest? Even in seminary, uncertainty about my ability to be objective about my future and God’s direction for my life would creep up from time to time.
But you know what had a remarkable effect on combatting those self-doubts? The average parishioner mentioning something about me and the priesthood. On more than one occasion, a parishioner had unknowingly strengthened my vocation by saying in small ways that the priesthood was something I should consider.
It is my sincere hope that this new initiative from the Diocese is wildly successful. In coming to know our parish community over these last 3+ years, I am convinced that there are priestly vocations in our midst. These men might need a push from their families, their friends, or their neighbors to see what God’s design for their life
really is. I humbly ask that we take the Called By Name program seriously here at St. Charles.
May we continue to keep in our prayers those pursuing vocations and be bold in identifying those from our own parish that would
make fine priests.
Peace and Goodness,