Wednesday, February 06, 2013

New Vatican vocations booklet mobilizes spiritual support

The latest edition of a Vatican magazine aimed at increasing priestly vocations and encouraging the spiritual adoption of priests has been released in English.

"We need to pray hard for vocations and to support priests around the world," said Monsignor Richard R. Soseman from the Congregation for the Clergy.

"That's why we pushed so hard to have this book published, and we're so pleased that it finally has been," he told CNA Feb. 1.

"Eucharistic Adoration for the Sanctification of Priests and Spiritual Maternity," was published in Spanish and Italian in 2008, and finally in English in 2011.

And with the new edition released in January, the Congregation for the Clergy hopes it will sell over 1 million copies.

"The first edition in 2008 was put together to help remind people to pray for vocations and for priests," said Msgr. Soseman, who worked with the publisher.

The booklet, written by the congregation's head, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, includes the stories of people who offered their lives for priests or prayed for them.

It also tells the story of a miraculous abundance of vocations in the small Italian village of Lu, where in less than a century over one-third of its population became priests or nuns. 

There were 323 religious who came from its less than 1,000 inhabitants between 1881 and the 1940s. 

"The magazine also encourages spiritual maternity, which means a person 'adopts' a specific priest that they will pray for," Msgr. Soseman explained.

Another section of the 52-page booklet offers reflections on how to pray better and some recommended prayers, such as the Chaplet of Divine Mercy or an hour of Eucharistic adoration.

"The Pope has recently given the Congregation for the Clergy oversight over seminaries and vocations to the priesthood,” he noted, adding that the “booklet fits in very nicely with that since it encourages priestly vocations.”

He explained that the Congregation for Clergy now has oversight over Catholic universities and the life of religious.

The Congregation for Catholic Education was first charged with overseeing seminarians in 1914 because they were responsible for the institutions where seminarians were taught.

According to the Cardinal Piacenza, the previous edition of the booklet was popular during the Year for Priests, when he received letters from India, Malayzia, Australia, France and the U.K, saying it had encouraged and moved them.

He noted that "a priest can do great work, but if he has a religious forum the Holy Spirit can help him to inspire more people." 

"That is our foundation for this booklet, to inspire more people to pray for priests because the history of the Church shows us how challenging the life of a priest can be," Msgr. Soseman said.

Other recent publications released by the Congregation for Clergy include a guide for confessions in several languages from 2012, as well as a pocket guide for priests to prepare for confessions.

The congregation will soon publish a new edition of "The Directory for the Life and Ministry of Priests," along with new editions of previously published booklets.

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