Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
February 12, 2001
Serra Club promotes prayer for vocations
Families encouraged to make chalice centre of their prayer
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — In a bid to help Catholic families pray for priestly and religious vocations, the Serra Club has developed a family vocations kit that will be distributed to all parishes.
The kit contains prayers, including prayer cards for children, Scripture readings, a rosary calendar with photos of all the seminarians and a journal where families can write their experiences.
The program, currently in progress in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, is centred around the Elijah Cup, a biblical symbol of God's power to provide.
In 1 Kings 17:8-15, during a drought, Elijah tells the poor widow of Zarapeth that if she makes him a small loaf of bread with the last of her flour and oil, her "jar of flour will not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the Lord sends rain upon the earth."
In faith, the widow baked the bread and fed Elijah. For the next year the widow, her son and Elijah ate bread from the bowl of flour and the jug of oil.
"If we pray with the faith of the widow of Zarapeth, our cup will never run dry. We will always have priests to bring us Jesus in the Eucharist," said Serra spokesperson Tim Coates, a St. Joseph's Basilica parishioner.
Families in each parish will be asked to sign up for the program.
Parishes could name one or more people to monitor the program, Coates suggested.
Each week at Sunday Mass the priest uses the Elijah Cup as the chalice or another precious blood cup. At the end of Communion, the priest calls a family, individual or couple forward to receive the cup. They take the cup home, placing it in a place of honour.
The Elijah Cup could be a chalice or another sacramental object used by the priest during Sunday Mass, explained Coates. "The purpose of the Elijah Cup is to provide a focal point for prayer."
Each day for a week, during their prayer time, the family prays for an increase and perseverance of vocations using material provided. They enter a thought, an experience, a prayer or Scripture verse in the prayer journal.
Over time, this journal or diary becomes a spiritual journal for the parish. "This could create some bonding and community," Coates said. The following Sunday, the family returns the Elijah Cup with the gifts of bread and wine at the Offertory.
There could be more than one Elijah Cup at the same time in a given parish.
"We need to pray for vocations and if one of our sons wants to become a priest, we must support him," Coates said. "The priesthood is an honorable vocation. Priests teach us how to live our lives. They show us how to get to heaven."
The 18-member Serra Club, reactivated last June, will distribute kits to all parishes in the archdiocese during February.
"We would like this program to go on forever," Coates said. "This is something concrete that parishes can do for vocations."
Serra is an international voluntary organization of Catholic men and women to promote priestly and religious vocations.
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