LifeTeen, Annual Catholic Appeal, and the Priest Shortage

//LifeTeen, Annual Catholic Appeal, and the Priest Shortage

LifeTeen, Annual Catholic Appeal, and the Priest Shortage

LifeTeen is a popular youth ministry program that began at St. Timothy’s Catholic Church in Phoenix Arizona, and spread throughout the United States beginning in the early 1990’s.  It seeks to evangelize high school aged Catholics in a parish setting with programs that help make the truths of the gospel relevant to teenagers.  As LifeTeen developed through the years, thus began a missionary program, training college graduates to be youth ministers across the country.  We have four LifeTeen missionaries in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Joe Farris leads this missionary effort and supervises the activities of the missionaries as well as conducts missions himself.  We are grateful to God for guiding Joe to us this past week after another parish had to cancel a Lenten mission.  This made it possible for Joe to come to St. Dominic Savio and share with us his love for Jesus and the Church, his passion for the gospel, and for God’s people.  Using St. Dominic Savio as his primary example, Joe challenged us to “burn the boats” and be passionate about pursuing virtue and holiness of life with the same kind of vigor as did our young patron saint.  “Death rather than sin,” said St. Dominic.  “I am not capable of doing big things, but I want to do everything, even the smallest things, for the greater glory of God, said St. Dominic Savio.”  As we continue our Lenten journey toward the joy of Easter, let us redouble our efforts to grow in the likeness of Jesus, our way, truth and life.

I am grateful to Mrs. Cheak and the faculty for organizing some wonderful activities in school to celebrate our patronal feast day, for example, the living rosary.  Scott Hark and the St. Vincent de Paul Society prepared a delightful mostaccioli dinner for about 150 parishioners on the evening of our feast day.  Mass followed and the Church was FULL.  I think God was pleased with our veneration of St. Dominic Savio.  In venerating the saints, we give honor and glory to their Creator – our God.

We are about one month away from the Annual Catholic Appeal.  This important effort helps real people, some of whom are undergoing crises of various kinds: abuse, neglect, displacement, addiction, crisis pregnancy.  Your donations allow the larger Church to bring them some relief, allow them to catch their breath, or give them a safe place to land until they can get on their feet.  As we approach God’s victory over Sin and Death, please begin to pray about your contribution.

A couple of people asked me about my column last week.  They asked if the priest shortage is really as acute as I mentioned in my column and the answer is “Yes.”  It is not going to be easy, especially in the short term.  Many rural parishes are doing  without the sacraments and the priests’ personnel board which has the responsibility of organizing priest transfers has fewer and fewer priests to assign.  Various religious orders like the Vincentian Fathers who staffed various parishes no longer have vocations and they have had to pull out of a multiple of parishes.  A few years ago, the Franciscans left St. Francis of Assisi on Telegraph and the Servites are about to pull out of Seven Holy Founders because of a lack of vocations. The  Archdiocese will have to figure out how to move forward with an equally diminishing pool of resources.  We need more men for service as diocesan priests and St. Louis Catholics are going to need to adapt to these changing circumstances.  Fr. Hardon, SJ, said, “During a Holy Hour our Lord gives us the courage to cope with our natural fears, the ability to undertake great things for the sake of His name, and the power to undergo great trials.”  Time spent before the Blessed Sacrament, praying for vocations can be of immense value.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us,