Traveling Chalice and Statue Spur Vocations

Parish

Church of St. John
Foley, Minnesota
Diocese of St. Cloud
United States

More Info

For more information, email Fr. Greg Paffel.

Simple, easy-to-implement program stirs spontaneous interest in vocations among both boys and girls.

"Today a little boy who sometimes comes to daily Mass with his family pulled me aside. He told me he has had four dreams. Interpreting his own dreams he said, 'I think God is calling me to be a priest'." Fr. Greg Paffel

The need it meets

  • Parish families become more aware of the need for vocations and of the possibility that God may be calling a member of their family to serve the Church in this way.
  • They also learn to appreciate the beauty and value of this calling.
  • Vocation promotion and awareness become natural conversation topics at the parish.

Where it came from

Fr. Greg Paffel of St. John's Church, Foley, MN, came up with the idea 2 years ago.

How it works

To get families praying and young people thinking about the priesthood and religious life, this program provides physical objects to focus on in family prayer:

  • For the boys, a chalice from the sacristy, including a printed prayer for vocations to the priesthood.
  • For the girls, a beautiful statue of St. Therese of Lisieux, along with a prayer written by the Little Flower.

Families sign up to host one of the items for a week.

  • The families gather daily around the chalice or statue, perhaps lighting a candle. They pray the vocation prayer followed by any other prayers of their choosing.
  • The item is returned to the parish at the end of the week and passed on to the next family.

The entire parish is also involved, as the Bishop of St. Cloud has written a prayer for vocations, which the congregation prays at every Mass.

The results

  • St. John's now sees more children and families open to vocations.
  • During a Mass for the 100 students in the parish school, Fr. Greg held an altar call for those who wished to have a prayer for vocations prayed for them specifically. More than 20 boys stood up.
  • Over the summer, 11 boys whose families had participated in this program chose to attend a one-week vocation camp combining learning about the priesthood with fun outdoor activities. Some boys have attended two or three years in a row. Two boys, older than the age limit, asked to go, stating they didn't mind being older than the other boys.
  • The girls have shown interest in learning about possible vocations by attending final vows.
  • The congregation, especially its families, are actively praying for vocations.

Key elements

  • Pastor encourages vocations in his parish.
  • Concrete follow-up: first the traveling chalice and statue, then the summer vocation retreat.
  • The pastor shows, both in words and actions, great happiness, thankfulness and love of his vocation.

How to implement it

  1. Begin by preaching homilies about the need to pray for children's vocations.
  2. Purchase statue and choose chalice.
  3. Seek a parish volunteer to coordinate scheduling.
  4. Invite families to sign up for the traveling chalice and statue.
  5. Decide on a secure, designated drop-off/pick-up spot at the church, as well as time and day, eliminating the need for phone calls and arrangements between families.
  6. Documents with the prayers and practical instructions for each family are available in the following files:

Fr. Greg Paffel is pastor of Church of St. John.

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