By Nadia Maria Smith

CS&T Staff Writer

Cardinal Rigali has asked that Monday, Jan. 12 be designated as an archdiocesan day of Eucharistic Adoration as part of National Vocation Awareness Week, which runs from Sunday, Jan. 11, through Saturday, Jan. 17.

Every parish will have Adoration throughout the day on Jan. 12, culminating with a 7 to 8 p.m. Holy Hour during which everyone will be united in prayer for priestly vocations.

Cardinal Rigali will preside at the Holy Hour at St. Pius X Parish in Broomall; Bishop Daniel E. Thomas will preside at St. David Parish in Willow Grove; Bishop Robert P. Maginnis will preside at Assumption B.V.M. Parish in West Grove, and Bishop Joseph P. McFadden will preside at St. Ephrem Parish in Bensalem.

The Cardinal has also asked that parishioners pray for priestly vocations at every Mass through the general intercessions, and asked priests to pray privately for an increase in vocations with a specific prayer he’s provided.

This acknowledges that when it comes to priestly vocations, every member of the parish plays a role, according to Father Christopher Rogers, the archdiocesan vocation director.

“Some might think that it’s the Archdiocese’s jobs to provide priests or the vocation office’s job, but in reality priests come from the people,” he said. “Vocations are always at the local level. The young men who are thinking about the priesthood do so because their parish priest asked them or gave them a witness that inspired them to pursue the priesthood.”

“With the petition in the general intercession it is another way to bring attention to the local people for the need to pray for an increase in vocations,” Father Rogers said. “They have a role to play in that. The faithful have a personal involvement in vocations.”

Vocations also come from families that have nurtured religious vocations, he added.

To date there are 41 men from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia studying for the priesthood. In the last year, eight more men joined the seminary, and in May six will be ordained, double the number from last year.

Another event that will be held during the vocation awareness week is an evening of prayer and fraternity for high school and young adult men on Friday, Jan. 16, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood.

“We’re asking priests and youth ministers to bring young men out to the seminary for the evening. We’ll show a video, have a candlelit procession and then a Holy Hour at which Bishop Thomas will preside,” Father Rogers said. “It will be our third year for this event.”

The event isn’t just for those thinking of a priestly vocation, but for all young men to have an opportunity to pray together and meet seminarians.

Young adults from around the Archdiocese who are involved in the Catholic Underground are also doing their part by dedicating their Jan. 10 Holy Hour to an increase in priestly vocations.

In addition to the events planned for January, a vocations retreat will bring young men between the ages of 16 and 24 who are discerning a vocation to the seminary for the weekend of March 27 – 29. Retreatants will be able to attend conferences and panel discussions and participate in the community prayer of the seminary. They will have both quiet time to discern and free time to familiarize themselves with the seminary. For more information about the retreat weekend, contact the Vocation Office for Diocesan Priesthood at (610) 667-5778.

CS&T staff writer Nadia Maria Smith may be reached at or (215) 965-4614.

Kick off Vocations Awareness Week at Catholic Underground

The National Vocations Awareness Week events in Philadelphia will officially open on Saturday, Jan. 10 with the Catholic Underground in the chapel of the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. A Holy Hour for Vocations starts at 7:45 p.m. followed by a 9 p.m. coffeehouse in the Cathedral hall. Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Thomas, religious men and women from across the Archdiocese and seminarians from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary will be in attendance. Jesuit seminarian Michael Magree will perform at the coffeehouse.

The first part of the evening consists of Eucharistic Adoration and begins with Vespers (Evening Prayer). This is the universal prayer of the Church – prayed by Catholics throughout the world and in every language. After Vespers, there is a time of simple praise. This provides a window for each person to personally encounter Jesus Christ. The Holy Hour ends with solemn Benediction.

The second part of the evening showcases Catholic artists. Participants experience the “new evangelization” via music, poetry, visual art, dancers, film and drama. The evening ends as it began – with the prayer. Compline (Night Prayer) is simple and beautiful. It concludes with a hymn to Our Lady, “Daughter Zion, Mother of the New Jerusalem.”

Catholic Underground is a cultural apostolate of the Franciscan Friars of Renewal in response to Pope John Paul II’s call for the Church to be in conversation with the culture.

For more information call (215) 965-4635.