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Praying for mothers, vocations

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

May 4, 2022

Sunday, May 8, is Mother’s Day and World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Clearly, a mother’s faith, sacrifice and prayers are crucial in the vocational discernment of her children and grandchildren. We give thanks to our moms this day and every day for their precious vocation of motherhood. We seek the powerful intercession of our Blessed Mother for all our moms, especially those in the Ukraine who are suffering so much these days as they and dads struggle to keep their families together and safe in that terribly violent part of the world.

This day we pray, too, for vocations to the consecrated life, permanent diaconate and the priesthood. With that in mind, I share with you the news that, with the documents of the Second Vatican Council, the Code of Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catechism of the Catholic Church serving as fundamental sources, the Holy See has recently confirmed the 6th edition of the Program of Priestly Formation in the United States.

The focus for this document comes from reflecting on “the lived experience of seminaries and the Church in the United States in these opening decades of the twenty-first century.” The document takes its inspiration from the Ratio Fundamentalis published in 2016: “The fundamental idea is that Seminaries should form missionary disciples who are ‘in love’ with the Master, shepherds ‘with the smell of the sheep,’ who live in their midst to bring the mercy of God to them.”

While this document presents some changes in the current seminarian formation process, I am confident that our seminarians are being formed into “missionary disciples” today. They are receiving excellent education and formation in the seminaries that they attend. We currently have nine seminarians studying for the Diocese of Ogdensburg: Deacon Leagon Carlin, to be ordained priest on May 21 at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Lukas Gruber, to be ordained deacon at St. Mary’s Church in Potsdam on June 25, Carter Pierce of Heuvelton, Douglas Shirmer of Ogdensburg, Michael Lennox of Adams, Kevin McCullough of Black River, Tyler Fitzgerald of Madrid, Joseph Van Vuong of Ticonderoga, Dennis Ombongi of Massena, and Venes Laine of Morrisonville. We are truly blessed and grateful to God to have these faith-filled men who are preparing to serve this local Church as priests.

As you know, one of our ongoing Diocesan Priorities is Creating a Culture of Vocations in our parish families. The entire Church is to be engaged in the pastoral work of promoting vocations. It is integral to the mission of the Church to care for the birth, discernment, and fostering of vocations. The Program for Priestly Formation highlights the shared responsibility of the family, the parish, the priests and the bishop in seeking, fostering, and nurturing vocations.

We have a strong diocesan team that is here to assist our parish families in vocation promotion. Father Chris Carrara is Diocesan Director of Vocations and Director of Seminarians, Sister Mary Eamon Lyng, SSJ, is the Diocesan Vocations Coordinator and Father Matthew Conger is our newly appointed Diocesan Associate Vocations Director. They work diligently to support, inspire and equip pastors, parishes, and families in creating a culture of vocations. We are so grateful, too, to the members of our Diocesan Vocations Society (DOV’s) for their remarkably generous support. We are always looking for new members!

Thank you for supporting our seminarians and for your promotion of Church vocations in your family and parish. Happy Mother’s Day to all our moms!

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