Clergy and Men and Women Religious need prayer and uplifting just like anyone else. Thus, the St. John Vianney Center hosted its inaugural ‘Day of Prayer for the Health and Wellness of Clergy and Men and Women Religious’ on Friday, Oct. 20. This year marked the first time the Center organized this special day of prayer.  The day aimed to provide spiritual support to those who have committed to serving the Church through their vocations.

In a video message, David Shellenberger, SJVC President and Chief Executive Officer, said the day was one of “profound significance” where all can honor Clergy and Men and Women Religious’ “sacrifices, their tireless dedication, and to express our unwavering support for their physical, spiritual, and mental well-being.”

Since 1946, the Downingtown-based facility has provided care, support, and healing to clergy and men and women religious worldwide through its residential behavioral health and addictions treatment and resource center.

Archbishop Nelson Pérez, who also offered words of encouragement, pointed to the fact that our prayers for others is critical “especially those who have devoted themselves to God’s people.”

“May this day of prayer be a source of renewal and inspiration for all,” he added.

The Mass took place in Our Lady of Hope Chapel and was celebrated by Fr. David Brzoska, SJVC Chaplain, and concelebrated by SJVC Board Member, Msgr. Roberto Garza, who also serves as pastor at St. Joachim Church in Miami, Florida, as well as President and General Director of Radio Paz.

Faithful throughout the region were invited to take part in the initiative in various ways. Those who were unable to participate in Friday’s events can watch a broadcast of the Mass here.

For Joann DiFederico, a parishioner of St. Joseph Parish in Downingtown, the day meant a lot. She said her parish priests, as well as the men and women religious at Bishop Shanahan High School that have educated her children, give so much of themselves to us – caring and lifting us up in prayer.

“This day we do the same for them,” said DiFederico who also works at the center. “It’s such a blessing to be part of the St. John Vianney Center and the work that we do, especially on this day, our first Day of Prayer.

During his homily, Msgr. Garza talked about how ‘the Kingdom of God is at hand.’ Everyone present is a disciple with a vocation either married, religious, or single. He suggested everyone think about how they share in that vocation.

“We all have a story of where we are at,” he said.

Msgr. Garza shared his own story about how he heeded the call to become a priest. He had always wanted to be an architect and that held true through his high school years. He wanted to be married and even have a minimum of 12 kids. On the other hand, his brothers wanted to be priests but ended up pursuing a marriage vocation.

“The plan of God is powerful,” he said.

As the intercessions were prayed, clergy and religious were remembered as was the work of St. John Vianney Center. Msgr. Garza concluded the Prayer of the Faithful with a prayer for the health and wellness of our Clergy and Men and Women Religious.

“Please sustain your servants in their tireless ministries,” he said. “Help guide them in seeking the means to care for themselves and to maintain their wellness in mind, body and spirit. Inspire us to support them through our prayers and assistance.”

St. John Vianney Center hopes to make the ‘Day of Prayer for the Health and Wellness of Clergy and Men and Women Religious’  an annual event.

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