Saginaw — Today begins National Vocations Awareness Week, celebrated January 9-14, throughout the United States. The United States Catholic Bishops have inaugurated this week of celebration to promote vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life through prayer and education.
In the last year, the Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, ordained four men to the priesthood during a Mass at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw. He also ordained four permanent deacons there and a few months later he witnessed the perpetual vows of five young women.
While Bishop Cistone celebrated the upturn in ordinations to the priesthood over the past five years, he acknowledged that the diocese is still very much in need of present and future priests.
“For our part, we, as members of His Church, priests, religious, parents, family members, relatives, friends and fellow parishioners, must work together to develop and nurture a culture and environment of fostering priestly vocations,” Bishop Cistone said.
With the leadership of Bishop Cistone, Father Andy Booms, Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Saginaw, is actively working to create a culture of vocations. Again this year, Father Booms will organize several bus trips to Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit where young men have an opportunity to experience seminary life for a day. Similar opportunities will continue for young women, who have the opportunity to visit the three established Motherhouses in the Diocese of Saginaw.
“It takes all of us to support vocations to the priesthood and religious life which first come to light in the home environment,” said Sister Margo Tafoya, President of the Mission Sisters of the Holy Spirit. “We must help young people to name and claim their call.”
“Every person yearns for happiness and wants to know that his or her life has meaning. By our prayers and active encouragement, we can help young people become aware of the vocation given them by God,” said Sister Catherine Marie, RSM, Associate Vocation Director of the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma.
“All of us need to pray in order to promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life in our Diocese,” said Sister Laura Hammell, OSC, Abbess of the Sisters of St. Clare.
Each day during National Vocations Awareness Week, the Diocese of Saginaw will feature a video on its website that provides an inside look at priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life. Among the videos, viewers will go inside Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit to see what seminary life is like, in another video viewers will see how one priest used his passion for rock climbing into an opportunity to teach the faith, and they will hear candid interviews with several religious sisters.
The Diocese of Saginaw is home to 108,601 Catholics, worshiping in 105 parish communities, across Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Huron, Isabella, Midland, Saginaw, Sanilac and Tuscola counties.