Friday, May 24, 2013

Bishop Robert McManus, the Diocese of Worcester, and vocations

As I noted in a previous post (see here), the Diocese of Worcester has some sort of animus against men who feel called to the priesthood but who accept, promote and defend the Church's Magisterial teaching.  There really is no denying this.  Candidates such as Jonathan Joseph Slavinskas are entirely welcome within the diocese (see here), but I am not permitted to even apply as part of a discernment process.

This is most unfortunate.  Dr. Germain Grisez explains that, "Since the ordained priesthood and diaconate provide the necessary ministries of the word and sacraments to the whole Church, every member shares a common duty to foster vocations to this service."

This duty, which pertains to all Christians, is codified in Canon Law:

"A duty rests upon the entire Christian community to foster vocations so that sufficient provision is made for the needs of the sacred ministry throughout the entire Church; Christian families, educators and in a special way priests, especially pastors, are particularly bound by this duty.  Since it is principally the concern of diocesan bishops to promote vocations, they should instruct the people entrusted to them concerning the importance of the sacred ministry and the necessity of ministers in the Church; therefore they are to encourage and support endeavors to foster vocations by means of projects especially established for that purpose." (Canon 233).

Paragraph 2 of the same Canon also states, "Moreover priests, and especially diocesan bishops, are also to be solicitous that men of a more mature age who consider themselves called to the sacred ministries are prudently assisted IN WORD AND DEED and duly prepared."

When I contacted the Worcester Diocese to express my interest in DISCERNING a priestly vocation, I received no response whatsoever.  When I wrote Bishop Robert McManus expressing my interest, again, no response.  This is promoting vocations?  This is being "solicitous" for mature vocations while assisting such in "word and deed"?

Of course not.

Every so often local parishes will offer a prayer intention for vocations.  But without any real effort to promote and foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life, such prayer intentions amount to little more than a dog and pony show.  Bishop McManus apparently has such disdain for me (pesky magisterial Catholic that I am) that when I phoned him to inform him that my "pastor" at the time (Fr. Joseph Jurgelonis) and his "pastoral staff" wouldn't schedule a Mass for my departed father, he actually laughed.

Feel the love of Christ Jesus.

Folks, if we really want to turn the tide within and outside of the Church, we will need to be more accepting of men who are orthodox in their faith and who feel called to the priesthood.  The laborers are few.  Can we afford to prohibit men faithful to the Magisterium from having a place at the table?

Related reading here.



Michael F Poulin said...

You have what they do not-and will never have - integrity, and they have what you do not: spiritual envy. The shipworms are only along for the free ride and the free lunch the institutional Church can provide, but their goal is to sink the ship. You however are already doing the Lord's work for which you will receive great rewards. In some ways you are already a priest, a brother of Jesus Christ, by being a light to the world. Hang in there brother and do not be discouraged for you already live in the hope of Jesus. Peace and blessings.

Siobhan said...

Happy Birthday, Paul.

Anonymous said...

Try another diocese. I know a man who was turned down by his home diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire. The diocesan vocations director there told him that he was too old (in his early 40s), because the bishop wanted "younger" men who would devote a longer span of life to the priesthood; thus, very few priestly vocations at that time. My friend applied, was accepted, and eventually ordained for the diocese of Springfield, Massachuswetts. The new Manchester bishop, the Very Rev. Peter Libaschi, might have a new policy for vocations. You might try one or both of those dioceses.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Thanks for the kind comments an birthday wishes. Mike, your comment provided much needed encouragement. God love you all!

Brian Schweiss said...

I'll continue to pray daily for Bishop McManus and the Worcester Diocese, along with the Manchester, N.H. Diocese as well. I know that Bishop Libaschi was just installed in New Hampshire in December of 2011. I don't know how things are there now regarding vocations, but if I remember correctly, didn't the Manchester Diocese have some big problems under the previous Bishop regarding sex abuse? I'm not in any way trying to sound uncharitable, but I thought I'd read about that some time ago. Sigh..... Prayers also for you Paul regarding your vocational discernment. :) Back to my rosaries! :)

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