From the Pastor: Vocations!
November 7-13 is National Vocation Awareness Week. The diocese was nice enough to send out, through their new Gulf Coast Catholic newsletter, a reminder of this fact. In the article, there was a link to a “resource page” of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website. Oh, what joy it was to see such great information about how to encourage vocations! After perusing their page and its links, I came away overly excited about how many new vocations I could get from Epiphany if only I followed their lead! By gosh and by golly, I think I will just share the “good news” with you and show you a smattering of what our national bishops’ conference puts out to really encourage vocations. (Please note the sarcasm. Do not torture your children with the USCCB vocation helps.) From what sounds like it should be a great link, “Recommended Reading List for Discerners”, we find a childish blue/pink image of a priest and a religious Sister that wouldn’t even be attractive to a 5 year old child, let alone a teen or young adult discerning a vocation. Shockingly, the priest has a collar and the Sister is in habit and they are both in the now-politically incorrect traditional colors for their own proper “gender”.
The book list continues beyond what I show above, and, while I don’t recognize all of the writers, there is one in particular who deserves a dishonorable mention. Sr. Joan Chissiter. Should any young lady come to me with a book of hers and say, “Father, this book has changed my life. I want to become a nun!” I would call for an exorcist. I don’t want to be cruel but she can no more lead a woman to a true religious vocation than Fr. James Martin can lead a gay man to chastity. Another link I clicked led to a “vocation homily” for priests to use this weekend. It wasn’t as bad as the image above but it sure didn’t have any meat on the bones, either.
We currently, from Epiphany families, have five men and two women in formation for a Church vocation plus one man recently ordained a priest and one woman recently vowed as a Sister. None of them, I dare say, made their decision to dedicate their lives to God and His Church based on a childish image or a homily that, for National Vocations Awareness Week no less, mentioned marriage before the priesthood and consecrated life as a “universal vocation to holiness.” But what do I know? I am just the oddball pastor of those kooky people who want to take the Church backward to something evil, like a time of booming vocations from truly holy Catholic families!
As a side note, after our last All Souls Day Mass, one of our young girls asked a very good question. “Why was the tabernacle veiled in purple instead of black like everything else?” Do you know the answer? We never cover the Blessed Sacrament with black! So even on All Souls or any other Requiem Mass, the tabernacle is covered with either violet or white. The same with the pall over the chalice. The chalice veil itself is black, since it is removed before the consecration and not replaced until after the purifications. But the stiff square pall which keeps the bugs and other undesirable objects out cannot be black since it protects (covers) the chalice when it is empty, when it is full of wine, and when it contains the Precious Blood. If we had an altar frontal piece, it, too, would be violet for these Masses, since the altar itself symbolizes Our Lord Who is seen as the True Priest, the Lamb Sacrificed, and the Altar upon which the sacrifice was made acceptable to the Father. How strong a symbol for Jesus does the Church see in the altar! Even I, the priest standing in persona Christi, wear black for a Requiem, yet the altar, much like the Real Presence in the Eucharist, cannot be covered with black. And now you know.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka