The Intercessory Power of the Eucharist
Praying for Vocations to the Priesthood
and the Consecrated Life
By Fr. John P. Grigus, OFM Conv
Today, many who make a commitment to Eucharistic adoration also spontaneously experience an urge to pray for the renewal of the priesthood and for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life. This is also encouraged by the Holy Father in his many audiences with clergy and laity alike.
On February 14,2002, in a meeting with the clergy of the
In other words, the priest is called to act “in the
person of Christ” (in persona Christi) as one who forms and builds up
the Church. Consequently, without the priesthood there would be no forgiveness
of sins through which the baptized are restored to grace; no anointing of the
sick to be restored to health or given the grace to bear their illness; and no
equipping of the laity for their work of “evangelizing their culture with the
spirit of the Gospel” (Vatican II). But, most important of all, without the
ministerial priesthood, we would have no Mass and therefore no adoration of the
Blessed Sacrament outside of
Prayers for vocations to the consecrated life are also important, for as the Holy Father states, “Consecrated persons render visible the gifts that are to come and witness to the new and eternal life made possible by Christ's redemption.” They also perform irreplaceable acts of service in the field of education, medicine, catechesis and charitable service without which the Church and world would be greatly impoverished.
“In the area of vocations,” said the Holy Father on February 4, 2002, in his speech to a session of The Congregation for Catholic Education, “The foremost action (actio princepts) is prayer in obedience to the mandate of Christ: Pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38; Lk 10:2).
And in the Gospel of John, Jesus assures those who do so pray, “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it” (Jn 14:13 -14). “Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete” (Jn 16:24). When we pray for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, not only are we then praying in the name of Jesus but in obedience to his very command as well.
Effective especially is such prayer when offered before the Eucharistic presence of Our Lord, because it is then not only offered in his name and in obedience to his command, but also in his actual presence. Numerous testimonies bear this truth out. Bl. (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta, for example, has said that her religious order was like any other order, having few vocations, until she decided to have her community spend one hour each day before the Eucharistic presence of Our Lord. It was after that that the order began to grow by leaps and bounds in both the number of new vocations as well as in the expansion of its ministry to the poorest of the poor.
Perpetual adoration was also started at St. John Fisher
In 1979, a woman by the name of Peggie O'Neill promised
Our Lord to make a Holy Hour every day at
She recruited two seminarians to participate in these
first Holy Hours in the fall of 1982. What was the result? The class entering
St. Charles Seminary between 1982 - 1983 rose from 4 to 17. Then with the
support of Cardinal John Krol of
Not just direct prayer for vocations but the availability
of chapels of adoration itself leads to growth in holy vocations. The reason
for this is simple enough to understand. As the Holy Father said to the clergy
of the diocese of
This is consistent with what some of the bishops and
directors of vocations have said as well. Bishop John Magee of Cloyne in
Our testimony at Marytown bears this out as well. In
1997, we started the Harvest Vocation Prayer Ministry to help the faithful of
the Archdiocese of Chicago to respond to the request of Jesus expressed in
Matthew 9:38 and bring the primary focus of our adoration chapel to its
founding mission. Since then vocations to the priesthood to the major seminary
located next to Marytown have been steadily increasing from year to year,
leading to the following seminary press release in September 4,2001: “
As we intensify our efforts to grow in personal and communal holiness through the grace of the Eucharist during this, the Year of the Eucharist, let us also take more seriously the command of Jesus now being addressed to each one of us, Pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest (Mt 9.-38; Lk 10:2).
Fr. Grigus is the Director
of the Marytown Perpetual Adoration and Media Communications Ministries. He is
also the Spiritual Director of the Pope John Paul II Eucharistic Adoration
Association of the Archdiocese of
This article is an excerpt taken from the conferences given by Father Grigus in a retreat entitled, Eucharistic Adoration Renewin the Parish Community in the Third Millennium, and published in the Immaculata Magazine, April/Mary 2005
For further information or
to order the retreat tape or CD series, contact: Marytown Press,