ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. – November 18, 2009– The Most Reverend William Murphy, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre issued a Pastoral letter entitled “I Will Give You Shepherds,” inviting parishioners and clergy to encourage vocations to the priesthood and religious life in their homes, parishes and all other places where “your witness to Christ makes such a difference.” The letter was released on November 4, the Feast of St. Charles Borromeo.
A pastoral letter is an open letter addressed by a bishop to the clergy and/or laity of his diocese.
The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI declared June 19, 2009 to June 19, 2010 as the Year for Priests. He has invited the Church to join together in prayer and reflection on the theme The Faithfulness of Christ, the Faithfulness of the Priest.
“There is no Church without bishop and priest because without them we do not have the necessary pastors to teach and guide us all in faithfulness. Without them we do not have the Eucharist and there can be no Church without the Eucharist. Thus we would be missing the necessary elements, or the very esse, the very being of the Church,” said Bishop Murphy.
For this reason, Bishop Murphy is reaching out to parishioners throughout the diocese to enthusiastically encourage vocations to priesthood as well as religious life. “We must all become actively involved in encouraging vocations through our prayer, our witness, our word and our deed. Vocations cannot grow in a desert of indifference or apathy,” said Bishop Murphy.
Bishop Murphy outlined some practical suggestions that should help bring men and women into religious life:
• Prayer for vocations at home and church for vocations cannot be stressed enough
• Each parish as well as three diocesan high schools will be holding a monthly holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament to pray for vocations
• Open, candid discussions with those who are discerning the priesthood
Also, as a part of the Year for Priests, Bishop Murphy asks us all to be thankful of the priests we have currently. “This year, as part of your work for vocations, reach out to your priests. Please tell them what they mean to you. A simple thank you for being a priest is more than enough,” said Bishop Murphy.
“It is a time for renewal of heart and mind, of prayer and word that unites us all together as one Church acknowledging our need for good and holy priests, praying they will be given to us and encouraging those we know to consider this as the greatest spiritual adventure God can offer anyone,” said Bishop Murphy.
The complete text of “I Will Give You Shepherds” is available in English and Spanish at www.drvc.org.
About The Catholic Church of Long Island
The Diocese of Rockville Centre (www.drvc.org) was formed in 1957 and covers 1,198 square miles in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The diocese serves approximately 1.5 million Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 3.4 million). There are 133 parishes in 115 towns. Last year over 17,000 baptisms, 19,000 confirmations, 17,000 first communions and 3,000 marriages took place in the diocese. There are approximately 20,000 students in Catholic elementary schools; 13,000 in secondary schools and 3,500 in higher institutions. There are 69 Catholic elementary and high schools and one Catholic college in the diocese. Catholic Health Services of Long Island consists of five hospitals, three nursing homes, a community-based home for those with special needs and a hospice. In 2008, Catholic Charities assisted more than 55,485 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island. (12/08).
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