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More vocations needed

By Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

Today is Good Shepherd Sunday. It is a day in the Catholic Church worldwide to focus attention on vocations to the religious life of priests, nuns and brothers, and to pray for more vocations.

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The need for priests and religious cannot be stressed enough. We need spiritual shepherds to take care of the flock of the Lord. Without ordained ministers, we cannot avail of the sacraments, especially baptism, the Eucharist, confession, and dispense their graces.
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Every year thousands graduate from various courses in the country. While there’s an oversupply in these courses, there is under supply of seminary graduates.

When I entered the seminary years ago, we were seven in high school special class. Little by little, our rank dwindled until I was the only one left. Being the sole survivor, I bragged that I was the valedictorian of our batch.

Choosing the religious life is not easy. The long formation years and living a celibate life make it a “less traveled road.”

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In other courses, if you have the desire, the money and enough brains to get by, you will make it. Not so in the religious life. You may have a strong desire, the money but if you are deemed unsuitable because of character and poor health, then you have to accept it as God’s will. It’s not shameful, therefore, to drop out during the formative years.

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A Frenchman Louis Martin wanted to become a priest but he was not accepted in the seminary due to poor health.

Eventually he married Celia Guerin who also wanted to become a nun but didn’t make it. Their wedlock resulted in having 10 children. (There was no family planning yet then!).

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Four of the girls became Carmelite nuns. One of them turned out a great saint, a doctor of the Catholic Church, and the “millennium saint” –St. Therese of the Child Jesus. If Louis Martin became a priest, he would not have sired one of the Church’s greatest saints.

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Be open to the possibility of a religious vocation. Consult your parish priest or a vocation director, and ask God to help you make the right decision.

If parents are generous in giving their children to the religious life, God who’s never outdone in generosity will certainly reward them now and in the next life.

And remember: Being generous to God’s call is a real test of one’s faith in Him.

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. A handsome young priest in the parish is especially popular with the high school students. One morning while waiting for the Mass to start, a pair of 14-year-old girls were seated up front.

When Father walked up to the altar, there was an audible sigh from one of the girls.

“Forget it,” whispered her companion. “Remember, he’s cellulite” (celibate).

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APPEAL It’s enrolment time again. Let’s help the poor seminarians we’re supporting under “Adopt a Seminarian” scholarship program. You may chip in an amount or sponsor a seminarian’s schooling for a year.

For inquiries, e-mail me at: belsvd@gmail.com.