Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
As we embark on Vocations Awareness Week this year, I want to first thank Archbishop Fabre for allowing me to serve as Vocation Director. My attempts at serving the seminarians and the young men discerning if the Lord is asking them to step forward and serve Him and His Church have been a joy. My time in this role has made me reflect on my own priesthood, which has given me blessings and graces that were unexpected. I am grateful.
Over the centuries, the Church has needed new life many times. And God has always called up new men and women to do the work. From the early Benedictines in the sixth century; to the Dominicans and Franciscans in the Middle Ages; to the Jesuits at the time of the Reformation, God has used new forms of zeal and community to advance Catholic life. And not to mention our own Bishop Flaget and Mother Catherine Spalding along with other determined men and women who gave birth to a family of faith in our beloved Kentucky home.
I daresay those in formation preparing to offer their lives in service to you and those who will follow are doing so aware of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. At the end of the day, each and every one of them places their trust in God’s providence and the courage and strength given to them by the Holy Spirit. They will be the source of new life for the Church in the years ahead.
On a recent retreat with young men discerning whether they are being summoned to priesthood, I encourage them to “contemplate your first love.” If the “first love” is Christ the Good Shepherd in a unique, deep way, respond with generosity and let God do the rest. May God bless you for taking time to pray for our seminarians and discerners.
And keep an eye out for someone you know who may be very well waiting for someone like you to acknowledge in them a flicker of a vocation.
Devotedly yours in Christ,
Very Rev. Martin A. Linebach, V.G., KHS