Soon after Fr. Anthony gave the homily at the Archdiocese’s “Faith and Family Night” Mass at Dunkin Park in Hartford, I saw him again at the Connecticut Catholic Men’s Conference. The theme of the conference was “The Priesthood: God’s Gift and Our Responsibility.” Fr. Anthony gave a brief talk, and the first thing he said was, “I don’t want your money.” Then he added with a smile, “When’s the last time you heard a priest say that?”
Now, some folks might roll their eyes and mutter, “We’re lucky to get 10 new priests, let alone a thousand!” (Full disclosure: that’s exactly what I did and said when Fr. Anthony made his announcement.)
But then the energetic priest started to explain what gave him this idea. “Jesus tells us how to get the priests the Church needs,” he began. Then he quoted Our Lord from Matthew’s gospel: “‘Ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for His harvest.’ The priests we need are out there. God has not stopped calling. We have to ask.”
Fr. Anthony continued, “Our God is so lavish and excessive in His kindness. Asking for a thousand new priests is more befitting His grandeur and generosity. We have to be bold. Let’s have confidence in the power of the Living God.”
Anyone who wants to help Fr. Anthony meet this audacious goal can sign up to be a prayer warrior at the Vocations website: www.hartfordpriest.com .
- Pray for priestly vocation every day.
- Select a day of the week to attend Eucharistic adoration, if possible; pray the Rosary; and fast with the intention of asking the Lord to send new, holy, zealous priests for the Archdiocese.
So, those of us in the laity have a lot of work to do. We have to pray and fast fervently that the “master of the harvest” will send the Archdiocese an overwhelming number of new priests. At the same time, we have to be much more supportive and encouraging toward the priests we already have.
Nowadays, people often say, “Thank you for your service” to members of the military – and rightfully so. Well, it’s time we started saying the same thing to our priests. After all, these guys sacrifice a great deal to serve others.
The Lord Himself instituted the priesthood and the sacraments as His way of bringing supernatural grace to the whole world. It’s time for a revival in our Church. Let’s all do our part to make this happen. Let’s sign up to be prayer warriors on Fr. Anthony’s website. And let’s tell our priests, “Thank you for your service.”