At once they left their nets and followed him. (Mt. 4:20)
Each time I read the familiar Scripture passage about Jesus calling the first disciples, I admire their courage and generosity. These simple fishermen sacrificed everything to follow the call of the Lord, including their homes and careers. When Jesus asked them to make an investment in his ministry, they gave their entire lives to him.
The Lord continues to call men today to make the same investment of service in our Church. I am excited to inform you that in May I accepted two recent high school graduates into our Diocesan Priestly Formation program. Aidan and Jeremy received a call from God, and they are willing to invest their lives in an eight-year journey of discernment in our seminary program. They will invest much energy, talent and work in the process, but God will give them so much more in return. We will always need priests and ordained deacons who are willing and able to invest their lives in order to preach the Word of God, celebrate the sacraments and lead people to the Kingdom of God.
Today, I am asking you to help me provide the resources needed to educate and form priests and deacons in our church so that they can be effective ministers to us now and to future generations. I am asking you to invest in the journeys of our seminarians, priests and permanent deacons by renewing your support of the Seminarian and Clergy Formation Collection.
The annual Seminarian and Clergy Formation collection supports the training of our seminarians and candidates for the permanent diaconate. It provides for the ongoing education of our priests and permanent deacons. This collection also supports our International Priests Program, which is so vital to us as we seek to provide for the sacramental and pastoral needs of our parishes at a time when the number of native-born clergy is declining.
But I truly believe that prayers are even more important than financial assistance. Prayer opens hearts to God’s will. So I am also asking you to pray for those who are being called by God to ordained ministry by participating in our “Called to Pray” appeal. In response, I will keep your special intention in my daily prayers in the coming months. You may include your prayer intention on the reverse side of the tear-off card below.
Thank you for the ongoing support you give to our clergy and those in formation by your prayers and other sacrifices. Know that any help you give is essential to the future strength of our Diocesan Church. I know that God will reward you for the investment you offer to Him.
May God bless you and those you love.
Your brother in Christ,
The Most Reverend Edward C. Malesic, JCL
Bishop of Greensburg