Jesus still calls! – – The Catholic Spirit


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Archbishop Hebda and I had the privilege of spending the last weekend in July with our 54 seminarians for our annual seminarian expedition. The weekend included a chance to welcome the 12 new seminarians who will begin formation for the priesthood this fall. You might remember we had 14 new seminarians enter last year. I am always edified by the opportunity for us to gather for prayer and fellowship as the seminarians share the graces from their summer formation experiences. I know I speak for Archbishop Hebda when I say how inspired I am by the fact that Our Lord continues to call such quality young men to discern a priestly vocation.

Last Friday I had the opportunity to celebrate the mass of investiture with the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus of the Diocese of New Ulm. In that ceremony, seven young women received the religious habit and a new religious name as they entered formally into their novitiate, which is a two-year formation process before temporary vows. I couldn’t have been prouder, because one of those young women was my own niece, who grew up in Holy Family parish in St. Louis Park and attended Providence Academy. The sister of our own Father Timothy Wratkowski of Holy Name in Medina was another. Additionally, the Handmaids expect six more young women to enter this August as postulants (the first year of life in the convent before novitiate), and they will live with some other professed sisters at their new convent in Hopkins at St. Gabriel the Archangel parish. Also, our Carmelite sisters at Demontreville have already accepted one new postulant for this fall with the possibility of three more in the next six months. And the Carmelite hermits at Demontreville are expecting a new postulant. None of this takes into account the young women and men from our archdiocese who will join religious communities outside of our area this year, or those in the area that I don’t know about.

Bishop Andrew CozzensOne could also point out the many other wonderful young people who are answering God’s call in other ways. Some are entering strong Catholic marriages with a desire to raise their children in the faith. Some work for the Church in our Catholic schools or religious education programs. Others are finding ways to evangelize in the world through their careers.

We are experiencing difficult times in our society, as we are still struggling with a pandemic that doesn’t seem to end, and living in an ever more divided society that is also rapidly becoming more secular. Again last month, studies showed that fewer Americans believe in God and go to church. More discouraging is that the numbers seem highest in the younger generations. This is certainly why in our Synod process, one of our three focus areas is specifically about the need to pass on the faith to our young people.

However, it is important to also see the good news. Despite these often disturbing statistics, there are still today many young people who not only believe in Jesus Christ and his Church, but are willing and desirous of offering their whole lives completely to his service. These young men and women, who could do many things with their lives (my niece graduated from Harvard!), are giving up promising careers and sometimes sacrificing marriage and family in order to follow Jesus Christ in a life of undivided service. I wish you could all meet them and see the quality of young people who are answering God’s call.

What do these young people have in common? They have discovered that Jesus is a real person, and his love is real and that happiness is found in following his call for their lives. They have come to see the beauty of the Church despite her flaws and human sins and they want to serve the mission of growing his Church. It is a wonderful testimony to the fact that Jesus Christ and his Church is ever attractive, and we should not be ashamed to propose the full truth of the Gospel to young people, even the beauty of giving up everything to follow him in a consecrated life.

Despite the difficulties of our modern world, we must be faithful to the Lord’s own invitation to prayer: “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (Mt 9: 37-38). Praise God he is answering this prayer for vocations, which has been prayed by so many so fervently in our archdiocese. And because of the generosity of these young people, there will be laborers to spread the good news in the future. May God grant them perseverance and make their work fruitful.

¡Jesús todavía llama!

Tags: Archbishop Hebda, Father Timothy Wratkowski, Holy Name in Medina, Our Lord, Providence Academy, Seminarian expedition

Category: Only Jesus

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