As I am writing this article, I am also packing my suitcase to leave for Rome. I will be attending the diaconate ordination of Daniel Hammer on Sept. 30 at St. Peter's Basilica. Cardinal Wilton Gregory will be the principal celebrant at the ordination. It is a great privilege for me to represent the Diocese of Duluth at the soon to be Deacon Daniel's ordination celebration. And you have to admit, with his first name being Daniel, he is going to be a great deacon!
|Bishop Daniel Felton
Believe in the Good News
Daniel cites the move his family made to Brainerd and his parish community of St. Andrew as being significant factors in his call not only to the transitional diaconate but hopefully in June as a priest. Many priests would claim that their home parish experience played a major part in their discernment of being called to the priesthood. This includes their parish sacramental programs, Steubenville trips, the celebration of the Mass, parish social events, pastors, and the many ways the parish supports and fosters vocations.
Even though Father Nick Nelson is our vocations director, in my mind we have over 44,000 vocation coordinators in our diocese. Each of you as parishioners is responsible for calling forth men from your parish to the priesthood. Studies show that it takes at least five people telling someone that they would be a great priest for that young man to begin hearing the voice of God speaking to them through those five invitations.
God continues to have a great purpose and mission in mind for His Diocese of Duluth. God will always give us all that we need to fulfill His plan for us — including enough priests. We have plenty of potential vocations to the priesthood in our diocese, we just need to keep extending the invitation to those we think have a vocation to be a priest.
We also need to keep praying that they will respond yes to God's call. For many of us, we have memorized our diocesan vocation prayer. That is a good thing, as long as it doesn't become so routine that we are just saying and not praying the words.
Let us pray for Daniel Hammer as he is ordained a transitional deacon. Let us pray for all of our seminarians pictured below. You will notice that there is an empty space without a face. Just remember, that empty space might be filled with the next young man that you tell he would be a great priest.
Who knows, you could be that fifth invitation that makes the difference!
Bishop Daniel Felton is the tenth bishop of Duluth.