Saturday, May 31, 2008

"He Called Them Forward"

After Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles ordained the nation's largest priesthood class for the year -- 12 candidates for the nation's largest diocese -- earlier today in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, a friend in attendance sent the following brief:
[Mahony] reminisced about the one thing the seminary never prepared him for all those years ago: that God is the God of surprises. He then reviewed his priestly life and spoke of each surprise and how God gave him just what he needed not only to endure but even to grow more joyful. The cardinal seemed to reveal the wellsprings that he has tapped into, especially during the abuse crisis, when he said that the most important lesson he ever learned about prayer was from Sister Wendy Beckett: "The essential act of prayer is to stand unprotected before God."

My highlight was when, before the final blessings, the cardinal asked for a stack of the prayer cards for priestly vocations (distributed and prayed throughout the archdiocese). He then stood and asked if there were any young men in the congregation who had been moved enough by the ordination to feel that they might be being called then and there. He called them forward and at least twenty young men came down into the sanctuary. We applauded. The cardinal welcomed each one and gave them the prayer and said that all would stand and pray this prayer for them. We all applauded again and then we prayed.
Then the cardinal suggested to the newly ordained that, at the end of their first Masses of Thanksgiving, they should make the same invitation because “the grace of vocation flows powerfully at the time of ordinations.”
...and may it do so not just in LA ...and not just for the call to orders, but for every vocation that exists within these walls.

In those immortal words from Dunwoodie, friends, "What is God whispering to you?"

PHOTOS: Sr Nancy Munro CSJ/The Tidings