Bulletin – February 2022

The Virgin of Lujan, Mother of Vocations to the IVE

This coming May 8th, the Church throughout the world will celebrate the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which will happily coincide with the beautiful feast of our Most Holy Mother, the Virgin of Lujan as well as the 5th anniversary of our offering of the golden rose “as a perpetual testimony of our love and gratitude for the vocations which she has sent to our Religious Family…and as a vow of confidence for the many more which we hope to bring forth through her intercession”[1]. How much we have to thank the Virgin for!

Since the last General Chapter (July of 2016) until today our small Institute has given to the Church 103 priests for the greater glory of God. This is a very great grace for the Institute. In order to measure the blessing which this signifies, we can call to mind that there are very important dioceses that have not had or have had very few priestly ordinations in the last 10 or 20 years, which also unfortunately happens with religious congregations of great prestige and tradition.

On the other hand, today we have 503 vocations in formation[2] and of which only 16% are Argentinian while the other 84% come from other countries[3], which speaks of the fecundity with which God has been pleased to crown the efforts of evangelization of our missionaries throughout the world so that the message of Christ can arrive most effectively to the heart of each culture.

Let us likewise consider that it is not just a simple detail that the Virgin of Lujan has sent vocations to the Institute that come from the same family. The double family ties-by blood and spirit-not only contribute to the unity and cohesion of the Institute, but it is also an important apostolic witness for other families and, in fact, for all other Christians.

Therefore, in order to celebrate the Word Day of Prayer for Vocations this coming 8th of May within the framework of the Solemnity of the Purest Conception of Lujan, within these lines we would like to speak about the primary commitment of each member of the Institute to promote vocations and about one of the means of promoting vocations, which is precisely “family ministry, which is in itself vocational”[4].

The document is divided into 3 parts:

1. Primary Commitment

2. Family ministry is in itself vocational

3. Mother of the Lord and our Mother

To read it in its entirety, click here. For now, we will only focus on one part of the text.

How can we promote priestly and religious vocations?

We know very well that at the foundation of all vocational work, as Our Lord Jesus Christ taught, is found authentic and persevering prayer, asking for more workers for the harvest[5]; nevertheless, our Proper Law explicitly points out to us a necessary and consequent means: “through the faithful and joyful witness of consecrated life”[6]. This is what St. Paul expresses when he says: I beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called[7]. “Conduct that responds to a vocation,” says St. John Paul II, “gives rise to new vocations. This coherent conduct is like the permanent basis of prayer; it prepares it, and prayer is like its development; reciprocally, prayer continually calls for such behavior”[8]. For this reason, before the other hundred projects that we could carry out in view of vocational ministry, the first, together with prayer, is that of priestly and religious testimony. We cannot ignore the fact that our life is always a significant presence at the side of young people: it encourages or discourages, it awakens the desire for God or constitutes an obstacle to following him. Hence, consistent and joyful witness is the first vocational proposal within the reach of any of our members. 

If we really give a joyful testimony in serving Christ “carrying out our apostolates with competence and generosity”[9], if we are able to radiate hope because of the faith that dwells in our heart despite of all the fatigue of the struggle, if we truly give ourselves to souls without failing in prayer, how can we doubt that vocations will spring up around us? The vocations which God has sent us though Our Lady of Lujan from Christian minority countries such as Tajikistan, the Gaza Strip, Egypt; from places where the Institute has very little presence, as in Papua New Guinea, or none at all, as in Sri Lanka, India, Guatemala, Slovakia, etc., prove that prayer united to a coherent life always produces fruit wherever God wants and how God wants.

However, none of us is unaware, no matter how few years of religious life we may have, that missionaries are lacking in the suburbs of the big cities, in the rural areas, among the inhabitants of the high mountain areas and in the immensity of the jungle. There is a lack of priests who are dedicated to the youth, to families, to the elderly and sick, to workers, to the intellectuals, to the professionals and the ignorant, to the artists, to the rich and the poor, to citizens of our country or immigrants… it is our experience that there is an urgent need for a greater number of priests and religious in parishes, in parish groups, in schools and universities, in factories, and in so many other fields…until we can say “that the ends of the earth, to which the Gospel must reach, are getting farther and farther away”[10].

This lack of workers for the harvest was already a challenge for Jesus Himself in Gospel times. His example allows us to understand that the too small number of consecrated persons is a situation inherent to the condition of the Church and the world, and not just an accidental fact due to current circumstances. However, the Incarnate Word, having compassion on the multitudes, offered them his teaching because he saw that they were like sheep without a shepherd[11], but He also wanted that His disciples participate in the solution, inviting them before anything to pray[12]. We also can and must influence the number of vocations by prayer.

Sometimes when we say that we must pray for vocations we often believe that this is a general intention, however, we consider that it would be convenient to pray frequently and explicitly for vocations, especially for our Institute. It is not of less importance to invite others to pray-as they are in fact doing in various places through the “40 Hours Project” or the “Thursdays of the priest” or the “rosary for vocations”-because we must be aware that vocations cannot take the next step with their own strength, and for this reason, they must be stimulated by prayer, accompanied and supported by the understanding that vocation is a true gift from heaven. We emphasize here the predominate role that the contemplatives of the Institute have, since the abundance and quality of priestly, contemplative, missionary and consecrated vocations for the Institute depend to no lesser degree on their generous and joyful fidelity to the contemplative life. It is moving to think that our Lord wanted to associate to the joined hands of a monk and to his silent immolation the precious gift of vocations for His Church.

 

Dear Moms, let us zealously continue praying for more laborers for the harvest and that all priest and religious will respond with generosity and faithfulness to their vocations, as well as be instruments themselves in awakening more vocations. 

 


[1] P. Gustavo Nieto, IVE, Speech at the presentation of the golden rose (8/5/2017).

[2] Among brothers of temporary vows, deacons, major seminarians, minor seminarians, postulants and novices.

[3] 45 countries in 5 continents.

[4] Directory of Vocations, 84.

[5] Cf. Mt 9:37-28.

[6] Directory of the Evangelization of Culture, 196.

[7] Eph 4:1.

[8] To priests and consecrated persons in Beauraing, Belgium (18/5/1985).

[9] Directory of the Evangelization of Culture, 196.

[10] Directory of Missions Ad Gentes, 80.

[11] Cf. Mk 6:34.

[12] St. John Paul II, Catechesis on Consecrated Life (19/10/1994).

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