Want to promote vocations? Try this.

Fr. Paul, center, with clergy from the parish before Mass.

For several years now, my parish has undertaken a novena to St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests, as a way to support seminarians and pray for vocations.

The novena opens with a Mass celebrated by a jubilarian priest; it closes on a Sunday, as close as possible to John Vianney’s feast day, with a choir Mass celebrated by a newly ordained priest. Afterward, he offers blessings in a nearby garden.

In between, prayers are offered at the conclusion of all the daily Masses. Parishioners can pick up a copy of the novena in the church. On the front of the novena, we print the names of all the seminarians in the diocese and ask people to sign up to pray for them.

The novena always gets a tremendous response, and folks seem to genuinely love the opportunity to meet a new priest and receive one of his first blessings. This year, the priest was Fr. Paul Kim, who preached a lively and engaging homily about his personal lust for iPhones (and seminarians’ craving for beautiful surplices.) He linked it artfully to the gospel and made some great connections to the sacrificial life of John Vianney. For my money, Fr. Paul knocked it out of the park.

Below are some snapshots from today’s closing event.

Fr. Paul, with some of the parishioners who have prayed for him.

Fr. Paul Kim, offering blessings in our Mary Garden after Mass.

Prayer for Vocations
O Holy Spirit, Spirit of wisdom and divine love, impart Your knowledge, understanding and counsel to youth that they may know the vocation wherein they can best serve God. Give them courage and strength to follow God’s holy will. Guide their uncertain steps, strengthen their resolutions, shield their chastity, fashion their minds, conquer their hearts and lead them to the vineyards where they will labor in God’s holy service.


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