The Catholic Church celebrates its annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations on Good Shepherd Sunday. It is also a special invitation to pray for all the priests and men and women religious who offer their lives in service to the Lord and His Church.
In his message for the 55th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis reminds us that God continues to invite men and women to serve him in unique and various ways. He assures us by saying, “If he lets us realize that he is calling us to consecrate ourselves totally to his kingdom, then we should have no fear! It is beautiful – and a great grace – to be completely and forever consecrated to God and the service of our brothers and sisters.”
Having personally lived and experienced the truth of this statement in my vocation as a priest, I encourage all the faithful to be open to and discern God’s call for your life. In your vocation, and through God’s grace, you will find profound joy and peace.
Especially within the Diocese of Arlington, may we be united with the entire Body of Christ in prayer for an increase of vocations to the Priesthood and Consecrated Life.
Most Reverend Michael Burbidge, Bishop of Arlington
Join Bishop Burbidge and St Mary on Friday April 27th at 7:30pm for a special Holy Hour for Vocations!
The 7pm Mass on Sunday May 6 with be celebrated by Fr. Sunny in the Syro-Malabar Rite. Many people don’t realize that the reason we are called Roman Catholics is because we celebrate the sacraments in the forms taught to us by Peter and Paul, the Apostles who brought the faith to Rome, which spread over the Roman Empire to all of Europe. But there are many different Rites (or churches) that make up the universal Catholic Church. For example, Byzantine Catholic, Ukrainian Catholic, Coptic Catholic and many more are all part of the Catholic Church, in union with the Pope and subject to his authority in all matters of faith, morals, and teachings, and are part of the Catholic Church’s heirarchy, who believe all the Catholic Church professes and teaches, but were taught by different Apostles (or in some cases, different saints) how to practice, and so celebrate the Sacraments in the ancient customs of the people of their lands. For instance, the Coptic Catholic Church (The church in Egypt) was founded by the Evangelist St Mark. The Byzantine Catholic Church (in Turkey) was founded by the Apostle St Andrew, and the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is a form of Catholicism practiced by the Christians of India since they were brought the faith by the Apostle St Thomas in the First Century. Their Mass, which is called Holy Qurbana in their language, dates back to the year 60 A.D., and is celebrated in a form of Syro-Aramaic, close to the language spoken by Jesus Himself. This is a unique opportunity for the Roman Catholic Community to experience the true fullness of the Catholic Faith by learning and worshipping with our brothers and sisters of a different Rite, but still members of the same Holy Catholic Church. This is an official Mass, and fulfills our Sunday obligation. There will also by a Syro-Malabar Choir that will sing at Mass, and the readings and homily will be in English. Come share the Eucharist with our brothers and sisters of a different culture, but the same one true Church of Christ!