Dear Catholic communities and people of the Gizo Diocese,
Yesterday the Holy father speaking to the Italian Bishops mentioned one of his great concerns: the crisis of vocations to the priesthood. We are in the month of the Good Shepherd, the sacred heart, the Lord of the harvest who asked us to pray for laborers in his harvest: did we do that? Can we say we did our responsibilities in promoting: selecting, accompanying young people in their vocation?
Good and holy priests who will animate our parish communities are of capital importance for the future of the diocese. Out of seven parishes, six are not run by our diocesan priests but by religious orders. We are heavily depending on religious orders to run our parishes: the Servants of Charity (Guanellians) in Noro, The Incarnate word In Waghina, the OP in Gizo, Sirovanga, Moli, Voru-Voru. How can we not share the worry of the Holy Father, We lack willing and generous young men who would take up the challenge of priesthood... this is one of our most serious problems in our diocese.
The church this year is concentrating on the preparation for the world Synod of Bishops of the youth in October. This worldwide meeting will deal with “accompanying the youth in discovering and following their vocation in life” to the sacrament of marriage, to priesthood or to single life for Christ
As a diocese we have set criteria for vocational discernment of vocations to the priesthood: The community, the catechist, and the parish priest will propose the priestly vocation to young people who:
- Have finished form 6 (exceptionally to youth who finished Form 5)
- Show interest and commitment in the pastoral services in their village (prayer life, helping the catechist)
- Show spirit of sacrifice and hard work in their family and community
- Each community will contribute by prayer, discernment, accompaniment, and support of all candidates in their vocation journey
I invite each community to discuss this concern. Have we done this in our community?
What else can we do to promote and foster vocations in our community? Not taking this concern seriously will mean lack of concern and commitment to the growth of the church. Doing the best we can certainly gain us graces from above and more vocations in our seminary. Having done this, we can leave the rest to the Lord of the harvest and beg him to send us good and holy seminarians who generously will respond to his call.
For you a bishop, with you a friend who loves you with a Solo heart made in Italy