In 1970, there were 194,474 religious priests, brothers, and sisters in the United States. By 2017, there were 61,036—less than one third! In contrast, the number of Catholics registered to parishes grew by 20 million during the same time period. What can we learn from this data? Has human nature changed that drastically during the last 50 years? Is it harder to find information about religious life? Has God stopped calling men and women to religious life? The answer to all of those questions is, “Almost certainly not!” Sadly, that means that tens of thousands of young people just aren’t hearing God’s call through a noisy life that keeps pulling them in a million different directions. Prayer, information, and engagement with young people by enthusiastic priests and parishioners across the nation have seen so many wonderful young diocesan priests being ordained over the past decade. The same is being done for religious men and women. Sunday, February 3rd is World Day for Consecrated Life. Use this occasion to pray especially for those young people who are being called to serve God through religious life. Thank the men and women religious in your life. Don’t be afraid to ask a holy, healthy young man or woman in your parish if they’ve considered a vocation to religious life. Find out if there are communities near you with whom you may get involved! God is still calling holy men and women to Consecrated Religious Life!
Prayer for Consecrated Persons
From the USCCB God our Father, we thank you for calling men and women to serve in your Son’s Kingdom as sisters, brothers, religious priests, consecrated virgins, and hermits, as well as members of Secular Institutes. Renew their knowledge and love of you, and send your Holy Spirit to help them respond generously and courageously to your will. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Words from the Holy Father
“May we never look at the screen of our cellphone more than the eyes of our brothers or sisters, or focus more on our software than on the Lord. For whenever we put our own projects, methods and organization at the centre, consecrated life stops being attractive; it no longer speaks to others; it no longer flourishes because it forgets its very foundations, its very roots. “Consecrated life is born and reborn of an encounter with Jesus as he is: poor, chaste and obedient. We journey along a double track: on the one hand, God’s loving initiative, from which everything starts and to which we must always return; on the other, our own response, which is truly loving when it has no “ifs” or “buts”, when it imitates Jesus in his poverty, chastity and obedience.” ~From a Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis on 2018 World Day for Consecrated Life
Booklet to Help Women Discern
Teen girls and young women will find a wealth of wisdom in this 16-page booklet by Sister Clare Matthiass, CFR (Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal). It’s prayerfully written for young women who are exploring religious life and need guidance in their discernment. It’s divided into easily-understood subsections that walk women through listening to God’s call, visiting religious communities, and seeking help from others. Perfect for youth ministry, campus ministry, Catholic high schools, and youth events. This is the booklet that the Franciscan University of Steubenville gives to teen girls at their popular summer Youth Conferences.
The Invisible Monastery Prayer for Vocations
God our Father, You made each of us to use our gifts in the Body of Christ. We ask that You inspire young people whom you call to priesthood and consecrated life to courageously follow Your will.
Send workers into Your great harvest so that the Gospel is preached, the poor are served with love, the suffering are comforted, and Your people are strengthened by the sacraments.