Last May several young men from St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, Yonkers, were ordained to he priesthood for the Archdiocese of New York. Two of these newly ordained priests served as seminarians here in Annunciation-Our Lady of Fatima – Fr. Tom Colucci and Fr. James Sheridan. Our best wishes and prayers go with them as they begin their new ministry in the name of Our Lord.

This summer we had two other seminarians working among us – John Figueroa and Kevin Camilo. We are also grateful to them for the great work that they have done in our wonderful Parish.

I know that we here in Annunciation-Our Lady of Fatima pray fervently today and every day for an increase in vocations to priesthood, deaconate and religious life. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, makes a special point of the truth that each local parish community and in fact each and every Catholic family ought to be the very source of vocations. He reminds us that the need for priests is one of the most crucial problems facing our Catholic Church today. The ratio of priests to people in North America is 1 to 900. It is estimated that by the year 2020, there will be 55% fewer priests and 30% more Catholics than there were in the 1990’s. Certainly Jesus did not wish for His church to be without priests. He is still calling men to the priesthood. We just need to listen more! If priests are lacking in number today, then Jesus too is lacking our world to a greater extent because of it. Only priests can consecrate bread and wine and transform it through the grace of God into the body and blood of Jesus. So to carry out the Church’s Divine mission to bring Jesus to a very needy world, there is an indispensable need for more men to be priests and still others to answer Jesus’ call to consecrate themselves as well to be deacons or religious brothers and sisters.

So I’m asking our young men to carefully consider the possibility that Jesus may be calling them to “come follow me” as an ordained priest. If so, remember that Jesus is not calling you to any easy life – a life of fame and glamour. He is challenging you to a life that demands the utmost in self-giving, a life completely dedicated to proclaiming Jesus as Lord and Savior and to be of service to His people, when convenient or not, when one feels like it or not – to put Jesus and others ahead of your own personal interest. Though it may not be any easy life, it is nonetheless the most exciting, the most challenging, the most fulfilling, the most joy-filled life in all the world.

Yes, the Church needs you! Yes, Jesus needs you! As a parish we need to encourage our sons or grandsons to be a priest or deacon. Your encouragement may be all that is needed to set them thinking about what Jesus may be asking from them. Please pray about it, talk more about it, then if you think Jesus may be calling you, make your decision.

Fr. Chris Argano, the new Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of New York, is living with us in the Annunciation-Our Lady of Fatima Rectory. If you would like to talk it over with him, please feel free to call him at the Rectory at any time. The Lord will say ‘Thanks’ for seeking His will in your life!