As we prepare to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday this week, I have been reflecting with amazement on the many blessings I have received since arriving in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City earlier this year. There has been so much to be grateful for!
I was reminded of one particular reason for my gratitude when I paused to examine the new archdiocesan poster displaying our seminarians in the Catholic Pastoral Center hallways recently. We are truly blessed to have these 22 young men in formation as they seek to respond to God’s call. These young men, God willing, are our future priests. Each of their lives is a mystery. God has a plan for each of them, as he does for all of us.
Two weeks ago every household of registered parishioners in the Arch-diocese of Oklahoma City received a mailing containing a smaller version of this same seminarian poster. It in-cluded a message from Father Novak, our Vocations Director, from Brian Buettner, one of our seminarians, as well as from me. The purpose of this initiative is to help introduce our seminarians to the people of the Arch-diocese. They are OUR seminarians.
One very important goal of this initiative is to stimulate conversations about vocations within our homes and parishes, especially vocations to the priesthood. The mailing also contains a prayer asking the Lord to continue to bless our Archdiocese with an abundance of priestly vocations. It is my hope that this initiative will provide the stimulus for prayers of both thanksgiving and petition as we ask the Master of the Harvest to send workers to care for his harvest. I would like to imagine this small poster being displayed on refrigerator doors in homes throughout central and western Oklahoma, and this prayer being recited regularly in homes everywhere.
Another important aspect of this initiative is to ask for your help. The cost of educating our seminarians continues to rise. This year the cost is approximately $37,000 per seminarian. I know how much our Catholic people love the priesthood and cherish their priests. For this reason I have asked for your financial assistance to support the educational costs of our future priests. The high cost of educating our seminarians requires multiple sources of revenue. This annual seminarian collection will cover only part of that cost.
Whether you can make a large financial gift, a small gift, or no gift at this time, please continue to pray for vocations and encourage young people to be open to God’s call in their lives. Talk about vocations. Young people need our encouragement and support to hear God’s invitation and to respond generously. Thanks for your generosity.