Priests, religious are key in helping bring souls ‘home to God’

| Father Troy Przybilla for The Catholic Spirit | November 4, 2014 | 0 Comments

National Vocation Awareness Week is Nov. 2-8


This week, the Catholic Church in the United States encourages us to turn our gaze toward religious vocations as we commemorate National Vocation Awareness Week.

For many years this week took place in January. But, as we know, there are other important themes during that month, such as Catholic Schools Week and diocesan appeals that tended to overshadow the important topic of vocations. So at the recommendation of the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors (NCDVD), the United States bishops decided to move it to the first week in November.

I was grateful for this move until I looked at the calendar and noticed the unfortunate coincidence. The Sunday that kicked off National Vocations Week was All Souls Day.

However, the more I reflected on it, the more it seemed like divine providence rather than a coincidence.


Father Troy Przybilla

In a promotional DVD titled “Fishers of Men,” a priest made a powerful statement. He said, “The priest brings the soul home to God.” The priest does this by preaching and offering the sacraments, but especially in the sacrament of the anointing of the sick and the use of the apostolic pardon. But the priest doesn’t stop here. All priests regularly offer Masses for souls in purgatory. Go to any parish in the world, and the Mass intention will more than likely be for the eternal repose of a dearly departed soul. I was at Mass in a parish in Alabama and the Mass intention was for Elvis Presley. The priest may never have met the person, but he still gladly offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for them.

I once heard of a pastor who would go out to the parish cemetery on Saturdays to pray for the people of his parish who have died. He did this in light of the fact that Jesus spent Saturday in the tomb and with the hope that Jesus would raise them up with him. The priest also said he would ask the souls to return the favor and pray for him and his parishioners. In light of this, we can see how the priest brings the soul home to God.

But it’s not only the priest whose life is concerned with bringing souls — especially those in purgatory — home to God. Many religious dedicate their lives and offer numerous sacrifices for the souls in purgatory. St. Gertrude had a deep empathy for them. At every holy Communion it is said that she asked Jesus to show them mercy, and he never failed to answer her prayer by delivering more souls than what she asked.

Our Lord told St. Gertrude the Great that the following prayer would release 1,000 souls from purgatory each time it is said. The prayer was later extended to include living sinners as well.

“Eternal Father, I offer you the Most Precious Blood of Your Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.”

I encourage you to join me in praying this prayer every day for the holy souls in purgatory and ask them to join us in praying for more holy vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

Father Przybilla is director of vocations for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.


Discernment events in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Vianney Visit – Nov. 13-15

High school and college-aged men are invited to visit St. John Vianney College Seminary for a couple days in order to experience what seminary life is like. Guys who have entered the seminary have said this event was the most beneficial in helping them make their decision. For more information, visit St. John Vianney website.

Year for Consecrated Life Opening Celebration – Nov. 21

Pope Francis has called for a year to honor those who have consecrated themselves to Christ. Religious women and those who are discerning are invited to attend a talk given by Deborah Savage, St. Paul Seminary professor of philosophy and theology.

Come and See Retreat – Nov. 23

Men who have graduated from college or are close to graduating and are younger than 50 are invited to come to the St. Paul Seminary to see what seminary life is like. There will be Mass, talks, meals, fraternity and prayer.

Archbishop’s Retreat – Dec. 19-21

This is the main discernment event of the year. Archbishop John Nienstedt leads a retreat at Christ the King Retreat Center in Buffalo for men who are interested in the priesthood. It’s the perfect place and time to step away from the anxieties of the world and rest in the peace of Christ.

Unless otherwise noted, times and more detailed information can be found on the archdiocesan vocation’s website.

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Category: Featured, Vocations