A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 9:32:38
A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus, and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke. The crowds were amazed and said, "Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel." But the Pharisees said, "He drives out demons by the prince of demons." Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest."
REFLECTION: "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest."
Our family has just returned from an extensive trip to Mexico. One thing we noticed was that in many of the Churches we visited, the priests were older, as were the parishioners.
We saw mostly older adults attending Mass, and very few youth.
I am ashamed to often take for granted this beautiful gift from God --that is the priesthood.
This made me think, what would happen if our cities lost their active parishes because of the lack of vocations? What if we had to travel 20, 30, 60 minutes to get to the celebration of the Mass?
In the United States we have roughly 1 priest for every 2000 lay persons. In other countries the ratio is even bigger. There has been a modest growth in priestly vocations with an average ordination of 35 priests per year in the US. (Source: USCCB)
In PAPA we pray for our current priests to be faithful, to persevere, and to be saints. And we also must pray for vocations. Not for vocations "somewhere else". Let's look within our close family members and our young parishioners. Let's help and encourage those who might be discerning to become a priest. Our parish might have a young person attending seminary. Pray for them. Let them know we are praying for them, and "Pray to the master of the harvest to send out laborers".
Lastly, I'd like to share a prayer one of our beautiful PAPA members, Teresa, recently shared with me:
“Lord Jesus, the Supreme Pontiff, Who is truly present in the Sacrament of the Altar, elevate among good men holy priests.”
+ Fr. Jacinto Ibáñez, C.S.s.R.