Last Sunday we celebrated the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. We prayed in a special way for vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and religious life. Our Church strongly encourages us to sustain this need for prayer for vocations throughout the year.
Our faith community of Saint Brigid prays for vocations after each of our daily Masses, usually in our Chapel. In addition, each week in our faith community, at selected Sunday Masses, we invite families to volunteer to take the “Elijah Cup” and pray for vocations during the course of the week. We truly appreciate your enthusiastic response to our invitation.
Serra Atlanta, a Catholic organization that fosters vocations, describes the Elijah Cup as follows: “The purpose of the Elijah Cup, a consecrated chalice, is to provide a focal point for prayer. We are all aware of the need for vocations to the priesthood, the diaconate and to the religious life. But sometimes we forget just how powerful praying for an increase in vocations can be. If we pray with the faith of the widow of Zarapeth, our cup will never run dry! We will always have priests to bring us Jesus in the Eucharist.
In 1 Kings 17, during a drought, Elijah tells the poor widow of Zarapeth that if she makes him a small loaf of bread with the last of her flour and oil, her ‘jar of flour will not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’ In faith, the widow baked the bread and fed Elijah. For the next year, the widow, her son, and Elijah ate bread made from the bowl of flour and jug of oil.
The 2nd Vatican Council instructs us that it is the job of the laity to pray and raise up vocations, and this has been echoed by Pope John Paul II in many of his teachings.”
As we reflect on these insights provided by Serra Atlanta, we are reminded that Pope Francis has also affirmed the need for us to do our part. He stated, “We will never discover the special, personal calling that God has in mind for us if we remain enclosed in ourselves, in our usual way of doing things, in the apathy of those who fritter away their lives in their own little world. We would lose the chance to dream big and to play our part in the unique and original story that God wants to write with us.”
As we consider these words of Pope Francis and as we continue in this glorious season of Easter, we pray that our prayers for vocations will continue to bear much fruit.