Thursday, 10 September 2009

Sunday's EWTN programme: "Vocations to the Priesthood and the Consecrated Life"

This was the subject of Fr Benedict Groeschel's "Sunday Night Live" on Sept 6th.
Mary is our spiritual mother correspondent in Wellington, Somerset. This is in the UK diocese of Clifton. Mary has sent me the following remarks about the programme.

"Fr Benedict's guest was Fr David Toups, a young American priest who really knew about guidance towards vocations. He told us about the acronym PEAK which I thought would be particularly useful to Spiritual Mothers of Priests.
P= Prayer. Praying ourselves for vocations and teaching young people how to adopt a prayer regime.
E= Encouragement. This we need to give to young people of any age.
A = Affirmation. Telling our own parish priest when he has preached a particularly memorable homily, for example.
K = Knowledge. Growing in knowledge and love of the scriptures and of Church teaching ourselves and making sure that young people do the same.

Father Toups did say that if a young boy of about seven years states that he wants to be a priest, he should be encouraged, but not too much. Perhaps he should be encouraged to be the best possible Christian and then think again about the priesthood in a few years. He also mentioned that it's often the eldest son in a family who enters the priesthood, but it is also often the youngest.

The Ratzinger brothers were not mentioned, but my thoughts flew at once to them. Joseph Ratzinger as the youngest child of three, was definitely very special. His mother was 43 years old when he was born, so he was a very special gift from God. He has written that from an early age, probably when he was an altar server in Aschau Am Inn, he knew he was going to be a priest. Of course, his older brother had already made the same decision. However, the first child, Maria Theologia, did not enter the religious life, but, perhaps more importantly, she resolved that, if Joseph became a priest, she would dedicate her life to looking after him. This she did: she was his secretary, typing up his lecture notes and his books, and also his loving and devoted housekeeper wherever he went as a professor. She went to Rome with him in 1981, although she never really settled there and longed for Bavaria."

Jane's comment:

Thanks for this Mary. I like the PEAK idea because it focuses on the generation not yet grown, and on which the Church relies for the priests of the future beyond our lifetimes. We have a responsibility to form that generation in the faith and to foster in them a strong sense of their Catholic identity. As for Affirmation, I trust we have all made a point of wishing our own PPs a happy and holy Year of the Priest!

Mary and I have often discussed the Ratzinger family and their 'specialness', particularly that of Joseph Ratzinger. It is no surprise to my husband and myself, or to Mary, that we have so many friends, who suspect as we do, that God may have chosen him to be a priest at the very point of his conception. Maria was very special to her brothers and is also special to us as a model of a particular type of Spiritual Mother, supporting the younger one domestically, intellectually as well as spiritually. I often think of her and pray that in heaven she continues her prayers for him now he is our dear Pope Benedict. Not only that, but she will not be neglecting Georg.

This idea of Pope Benedict's being chosen from his conception, reminded me of one of our spiritual mother telling me that she prays for boys still in their mothers' wombs, whom God has already chosen, or whom He will call to the priesthood later on in their lives. I will dig out the correspondence so that I can acknowledge that mother and her idea in a later post.

Thank you again Mary.

Next up: Thanks to Fr George Byers
And coming soon a special on Bishops and Priests in the news who need our prayers.d

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