Vocations are God’s gift to each one of us. His plan for every person’s happiness is a gift beyond measure. We must pray for the fulfillment of these gifts, for courageous and humble priests, faithful people to Consecrated Life, holy men and women to the sacrament of Marriage and selfless persons serving the Church and the world in a single state of life. We must especially pray for more priests in light of the shortage.
No vocation makes sense without a deep love of the Church. Bishop Rhoades explains this truth beautifully, “The free response to a call to the priesthood is always a response of love. Any other motivation is suspect. To give oneself to God and the Church in a life of celibacy, obedience, poverty, and pastoral service only makes sense if one is deeply attached to Christ and His Church. Where does one learn to love the Lord and His Church except in the family, which the Second Vatican Council even calls “the first seminary?” When parents present their children to be baptized, the priest or deacon reminds the parents of their duty to bring them up to keep God’s commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor. The parents say they understand what they are undertaking and they trace the sign of the cross on their children’s forehead. Later the celebrant prays that the parents’ and godparents’ lives will be examples of faith to inspire their children and that their families will always remain in God’s love. Right before the actual baptism, before renewing their own baptismal vows, the parents and godparents are exhorted to make it their constant care to bring their children up in the practice of the faith and to see to it that the divine life which God gives them is kept safe from the poison of sin, to grow always stronger in their hearts. At the end of the rite, the mother and father each receives a blessing during which they are called the first teachers of their children in the ways of faith. The priest or deacon prays: “May they be also the best of teachers, bearing witness to the faith by what they say and do.”