Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

A few weeks ago, I was privileged to celebrate Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary for our annual Honoring Marriage Day event. Hundreds of couples from throughout the diocese came to celebrate milestone anniversaries, including some married for 50, 60 or more years. Their witness to their vocation of faithful, lifelong love was beautiful and is so needed in our world today.

Marriage is the right vocation for many people. But, at times, God calls men and women to serve him and the church in other ways, such as through a vocation to the priesthood, diaconate or consecrated life.

This year, many of them also are celebrating milestone anniversaries of dedicated service to God and their communities — 50, 60 and even 70 years. They have gifted the church in many and varied ways, including as parish pastors, missionaries, teachers and principals, artists and health care professionals.

Like the vocation of marriage, serving the church through a religious vocation is a call to an “adventure of love,” as our diocesan prayer for vocations says. It is an adventure rooted in prayer, generosity and sacrifice. And it brings great joy to those who are called as well as abundant fruits to the church and our world.

I am grateful for all those who have answered the call to a religious vocation, and I ask you to remember in a special way all those who are celebrating special anniversaries this year of ordination or religious profession.

I also ask you to pray for four individuals as they embark this month on a new chapter in their own religious vocations. On June 3, at St. Mary’s Cathedral, I will ordain Deacon Derek Wiechmann from St. Rosa to the priesthood. A week later, I will ordain three men of the diocese to the permanent diaconate: Mike Benda, Dan Dullinger and Lucio David Hernandez.

Let us also keep in mind others who might be discerning if God wants them to become a priest, deacon or religious sister or brother by regularly praying our diocesan prayer for vocations:

Gracious God and Father,

We praise You for Your goodness and love. You teach us that each vocation is born in prayer and only through prayer does it persevere and bear fruit.

We ask You to stir the hearts of all those You call to the priesthood and consecrated life in the Diocese of Saint Cloud. Make them generous. Make them courageous. Make them joyful in giving everything to Jesus.

Send Your Holy Spirit upon our families and our children. Choose from our parishes, our homes and our schools those called to this adventure of love. With Mary, Mother of every vocation, we ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Our encouragement and prayerful support for religious vocations, and the wonderful witness provided by those who have already answered the call, will help more women and men to choose this “adventure of love” with God and his people.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Donald J. Kettler
Bishop of Saint Cloud