The last Sunday of October is a special day set aside to honor the priesthood in the United States. It is a day to reflect upon and affirm the role of the priesthood in the life of the Church as a central one and that the parish priest, as the instrument of Christ's ministry on earth, is loved and respected by those in the parish community. This nation-wide event is coordinated by the USA Council of Serra International.
Lay faithful of all parishes in the country, including the Melkite ones of our Eparchy, develop their own special way of marking the day and honoring their parish priests both at Divine Liturgy and other parish events, such as social celebrations and school activities. It was designed to be an event led by the laity, but the parish priest can also participate by talking about how he experienced and answered his own calling, the need for Vocations to keep the priesthood vital, and about priests who have inspired him.
Priesthood Sunday also offers an opportunity for priests and their parishioners to build a stronger working relationship for the future. Together, they can dialogue to take an honest look at the challenges of the future and how they can collaborate to meet those challenges as a united force. The Internet offers many good suggestions to observe this day.
World Day of Prayer for Vocations
The purpose is to publically fulfill the Lord's instruction to, "Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest" (Mt 9:38; Lk 10:2). As a climax to a prayer that is continually offered throughout the Church, it affirms the primacy of faith and grace in all that concerns Vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life. While appreciating all vocations, the Church concentrates its attention this day on Vocations to the ordained ministries (priesthood and diaconate), to the Religious/Monastic life in all its forms (male and female, contemplative and apostolic), to societies of apostolic life, to secular institutes in their diversity of services and membership, and to the missionary life, in the particular sense of mission "ad gentes".
National Vocation Awareness Week
This is an annual week-long celebration of the Catholic Church in the United States, dedicated to promote Vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life through prayer and education, and to renew our prayers and support for those who are considering one of these particular vocations. It is presently observed during the first full week of November.
Religious/Monastic life was indeed born in the East during the first centuries of Christianity. St. Anthony the Great was the founder of monasteries there. Lived within monasteries, lavras and sketes, canonically approved and blessed by the Church, it is distinguished from other forms of consecrated life by its liturgical character, public profession of the evangelical counsels, brotherly & sisterly life led in common, and witness given to the union of Christ with the Church. At one time, we had a monastery for male monastics in Steubenville, OH.