Last year, the Vocation Office had the privilege of sponsoring a series of holy hours using one of six monstrances blessed by Pope John Paul II. The monstrance, which is a sacred vessel used to expose the Most Blessed Sacrament for eucharistic adoration, was commissioned and blessed in November of 2004 by Pope John Paul the Great to be used for eucharistic holy hours with a particular focus of praying for vocations to the ordained priesthood and consecrated life. The purpose of the monstrance is to expose Jesus, truly present in the Eucharist, for us to adore.
Since 2004, the monstrance designated for North America has been handed from diocese to diocese in the United Sates and Canada for people to join together in asking God to "send more laborers into the harvest." In March of last year, faithful from all over the archdiocese joined together, using the monstrance, in asking Jesus to bless us with more priests and religious to serve us in Boston. We also took the opportunity during those days of adoration to ask St. Patrick, patron of Boston, to intercede for us in obtaining vocations by praying a novena from March 9-17.
My experience of those several days of adoration and Benediction helped me to see the deep love and reverence that the faithful of Boston have for God and His Church. I had the opportunity to pray with thousands of people who came together simply to be with Jesus. Many grammar and high schools also participated. It was amazing to see the children and young adults come to adore Jesus and to learn from Him through silent prayer at adoration. I didn't think that a group of 70 grammar school kids could be quiet for more than 10 minutes at a time, but I was wrong! It also served as a time of catechesis for the students who took part.
This year, we have decided to continue the vocation monstrance and novena to St. Patrick events by having a series of holy hours over a 10-day period. From March 9-19, we will travel to nearly 50 places to gather the faithful together and pray for vocations to the ordained priesthood and consecrated life. We will visit the cathedral, parishes, grammar and high schools, colleges and universities, religious order houses and the Boston Catholic Men's and Women's Conferences. I invite you to pray the novena to St. Patrick and to attend the holy hour nearest you. Take some time this Lenten season to visit Christ truly present at one of the holy hours for vocations. I'll see you there!
May Our Lord Jesus bless us with an abundance of holy and dedicated men and women to serve the people of Boston.
Novena prayer to St. Patrick
O Glorious St. Patrick, who was sent to the people of Ireland to spread the faith and spend your life in loving service to God and His people we now turn to you, patron of Boston, to intercede for us.
Help us to clasp unto our hearts, this day, the healing strength of the Trinity. May the example of your life, preaching and prayers inspire fervent and loving followers of Jesus in our archdiocese. May your prayers obtain for us the grace to work together in building up the Church in Boston.
Pray for us to be open to the Holy Spirit and to live the vocation to holiness by loving God above all things and our neighbors as ourselves.
Intercede for us with the Master of the Harvest to send an abundance of workers into the fields. May your prayers obtain for us devoted priests, deacons and religious to serve God and His Church.
Father Daniel F. Hennessey is director of the Office of Vocations of the Archdiocese of Boston.