This weekend the Archdiocese of Cincinnati celebrates the ordination of 7 new priests. Praise God! Please keep them in your prayers as they begin their lives of service God and His Church; even though none of them will be assigned to serve our parishes, priests are a gift to the whole Church, as they provide us with the saving and sanctifying grace of the sacraments and serve our joy, which is to draw nearer and nearer to the Heart of Jesus every day. Ordinations are also a joyful time for us priests who are celebrating our own ordination anniversaries this month. I remember fondly my own ordination four years ago, and I still thank God for having had such a great mercy on me, in giving me this gift of being a priest. I love being a priest – I love being your priest – and as challenging as things are for us in the Church today, it is still a happy life, and I wouldn’t give it up for the world.
Ordination season is also a time for us to consider how we can do more to foster vocations in our own parishes, families, and homes. Priests don’t just “happen” – they come from the bosom of the Christian family. Certainly, God could cause priests to rise from stones, if He wanted (cf. Mt 3:9), but He prefers to work through the ordinary means He has established for such things, and the family is the primary place from which He calls new vocations to the priesthood. The Catechism reminds us that “It is in the bosom of the family that parents are ‘by word and example…the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. They should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each child, fostering with special care any religious vocation.’” I have my own family to thank for helping me to find my vocation, because it was always told me when I was young that I should be open to whatever God may call me to do, and that I should be open to the possibility of being a priest if that was the call He gave me. Because I knew I would have my family’s support, responding to my own vocation was that much easier. Young people need to know that their parents and families will support them if they want to serve God as a priest or religious. We tell our children they can be whatever they want to be, but so often it seems we don’t include these vocations, and our words, our attitudes, or even our body language can suggest disapproval when our own children express interest in them. If God may be calling a child from your family, thank Him and respond generously. Let your children know that it is a gift to serve God in this way, and even pray that God may bless your family with such a gift. As we celebrate the graduation of our seniors this month, many of them are beginning to take steps toward their vocations, and we should pray for them, too, that they may respond courageously if God is calling them to a life of service to His Church as a priest or religious. Oftentimes, such a call surprises us in the midst of our own plans, so pray that our young people will have the grace to say “yes” if He calls.
This summer, we will have Tony Brandt with us again, as well as Dcn. Adam Berning. They have each sent a note, found below, and please be sure to welcome them when you see them around the parishes this summer. May God bless you in the week ahead and may Mother Mary lead you more deeply into the Sacred and Merciful Heart of Jesus, I remain,
Affectionately Yours in Christ,
I’m back once again! Or rather, I will be in July. Until then, I will be studying abroad in Rome with 23 other seminarians from around the country. The program which we will be taking part in seeks to give diocesan seminarians experience in the heart of the Catholic Church, and it is a time of prayer, study, and pilgrimage. Please pray for me, and as always, be assured of my prayers for all of you. God Bless, Tony Brandt
Hello, my name is Dcn. Adam Berning, and I am a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. A native of Shelby County, I grew up in the outside of McCartyville, attending Sacred Heart Church. I studied at Anna Schools, graduating from there in 2014. I attended Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary and Marian University in Indianapolis, completing my studies in 2018. Following this, I discerned at a Benedictine monastery in St. Louis, MO staying there for periods of a few weeks at a time before I decided that was not where God was calling me to be. I entered Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati in the Fall of 2019 and was ordained to the transitional diaconate with my 6 classmates on April 29th of this year. I have 4 siblings, all of whom are married, and 13 nieces and nephews with two more to be born. My interests include hunting, hiking, camping, gardening, cooking, reading, and teaching. I look forward to spending this summer with all of you at the St. Henry Cluster of Parishes, and serving in the parishes in whatever functions I am able. In Christ, Dcn. Adam Berning