By George P. Matysek Jr.
If Catholics of the Archdiocese of Baltimore want more priests, deacons and consecrated men and women, they need to pray for them.
That’s the simple principle behind a new prayer campaign Archbishop William E. Lori is launching via “Invisible Monastery,” an online community of people around the world who commit to continuous prayers for vocations.
Participants sign up at invisiblemonastery.com, committing to pray daily or weekly for vocations. They choose the type of prayer (rosary, eucharistic adoration and more), and receive a quarterly enewsletter with prayers, resources and ideas for promoting vocations. The archdiocesan vocations office also occasionally emails information about promoting vocations locally.
There are currently 178 people within the archdiocese who have signed up through the Invisible Monastery to pray for vocations.
In a Nov. 9 letter to registered parishioners, Archbishop Lori encouraged more people to join the campaign. Supporting and praying for more vocations, especially for more priests in parishes, “goes to the heart of who we are as missionary disciples,” he said.
“We need good, holy priests today more than ever,” the archbishop said, “not only to replace the priests who will retire, as well as to meet the spiritual needs of the growing number of Catholics, but most especially because we live in a culture that equates happiness with worldly success and material gain.”
Archbishop Lori is among those praying for vocations, committing to offer Mass weekly for that intention.
Invisible Monastery takes its name from a passage in a 2012 document from the Holy See that recommended the formation of an “invisible monastery” in which many persons, day and night, are committed to continuous prayer for priestly vocations. The website was developed and is run by Vianney Vocations, a ministry that produces vocations materials for the Archdiocese of Baltimore and other dioceses across the country.
Father James Sorra, archdiocesan vocations director, said prayer is mistakenly seen as merely supplemental to fostering religious vocations.
“People have it backwards,” he said. “They tend to think about what kind of events we can have or what other things we can do. The most important thing we can do is pray. Everything else flows from that.”
Father Sorra noted that the one time Christ spoke of vocations, he specifically mentioned prayer.
“He told us to ask the master of the house to send more laborers to the vineyard,” Father Sorra explained.
Julia Vidmar, coordinator of the archdiocesan vocations office, said those who sign up for the prayer campaign will have an opportunity to renew once a year. She is encouraged that people are dedicating time for prayer.
“The Invisible Monastery website also has links to many different resources to get you thinking about prayer and vocations,” she said. “It’s a concrete way to commit to prayer.”