The Holy Father's Exhortation on the Priesthood

"The witness of a priestly life well lived brings nobility to the Church, calls forth admiration among the faithful, and is a source of blessings for the community; it is the best way to promote vocations, the most authentic invitation to other young people to respond positively to the Lord's call. It is true collaboration in building the Kingdom of God!"

—Pope Benedict XVI, Meeting with clergy and religious in Aparecida, Brazil, May 12, 2007

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Consider Organizing or Supporting a Run for Vocations!

One of the priests participating in our first 40 Days for Priests Campaign, Father Bertrand, made a lovely suggestion that other Diocese have done in the past.  THANK YOU FATHER BERTRAND!

Why not consider organizing or supporting a Run/Walk for Vocations?  Here are some of the links he shared with us:

Run for Vocations invites runners and walkers of all experience levels to join in the upcoming Marine Corps Marathon and 10K. Each year, a group of priests, seminarians and lay people from the Archdiocese of Washington run the marathon and 10K as a way to pray and sacrifice in support of our future priests and our Church. By joining your prayers with theirs, and by making a donation in the name of the team, you can make a difference.

Here are some details from their website:
Keys to Developing a Run for Vocations Parish Team

History of RFV
Run for Vocations (RFV) began in 1999 as a program to pray and sacrifice for future priests and the Church. Priests, seminarians, and lay people of all levels of experience were encouraged to join the Marathon and the 10K as runners or walkers and to enlist donations from supporters. In addition to individual participants, in 2009 parishes, with the support of their pastors, began to form Run for Vocations teams.

Fundraising for RFV
RFV is a fundraiser and therefore a means to an end. The Archdiocese of Washington provides each seminarian with an education, housing, and food. Unanticipated expenses occur, however, and that's where the donations made in the name of RFV make such a profound difference in the life of the seminarian. The money raised covers such expenses as medical costs, travel expenses for family emergencies, and opportunities for spiritual enrichment.

Role of the Pastor or Priest
"Ye shall know them by their fruits." (Matt 7:16)
  • RFV is a call to service and spiritual growth, and the priest is fundamental to the overall success of the program. He creates a "garden" of the parish with rich soil in which the RFV seed can flourish.
  • The pastor should be intimately involved with the RFV activities, guiding the parish team leader and team members by helping them to prioritize and secure donations.
  • Any solicitation for funds or notices to the parish bulletin must be approved by the Pastor. Prayer is key!
Responsibilities of a Parish Team Leader

Managing a Team
"On their return, the apostles told Jesus all they had done. He took them with Him and withdrew privately." (Luke 9:10)
  • The team leader, in particular, should stay engaged with the team by supporting and encouraging them via personal phone calls or emails.
  • Put gentle pressure on each team member to fundraise. This cannot be done only individually but by group activities, including bake sales, car washes, and rummage sales. Enlist the help of local restaurants by asking them to donate a portion of their sales during a designated period of time.
  • Remind people that all donations are tax deductible.
  • Be sensitive to other's financial abilities to donate. Find benefactors in the parish.
  • Keep up with group and individual fundraising, and don't wait until the last minute.

Fostering Team Mentality
"You shall reap what you sow!" (Gal 6:7)
  • Encourage training groups and training partners.
  • Suggest group fundraising as a great way to build team spirit.
  • Plan team social events in order to enlist others.
  • Encourage runners and walkers to recruit friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
  • Set membership goals: "Let's see if we can get 5, then 10, then 20, then 30!"

"Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." (1 Cor 9:25)
  • Advertise via personal invitation, church bulletins, informational meetings, phone calls, and subtle arm-twisting.
  • Make it personal, using a seminarian's name: "Run for Martino!" or "Run for Dan!"
  • Take the Bucket List angle: I'd always wanted to run a marathon or 10K…"
  • If someone says, "I'm out of shape," assure them that this will be a wonderful way to get into shape!
  • If someone says they are too busy to train, encourage them to walk the 10K.
  • If someone can neither run nor walk, ask them to sponsor another runner or walker.

"And He appointed twelve, whom He also named apostles, to be with Him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message." (Mark 3:1-4)
  • Delegating builds team mentality, reduces the workload, increases overall efficiency and productivity, and encourages responsibility and accountability.
  • Avoid micromanaging. Encourage others to use their gifts and skills, and then let them loose.
  • Hold others accountable, but remember the team leader is ultimately responsible.
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Run for Vocations Fundraising Ideas
  • Write a letter or an email to family, friends, colleagues, faithful Catholics, school contacts, and parishioners to enlist their support.
    Here is a sample fundraising letter. 
  • Advertise in your parish bulletin to solicit donations from the advertisers in your church bulletin.
  • Invite family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues to a RFV fundraising party! 
    Consider a wine tasting event, a ladies' fashion show or luncheon, an afternoon tea, a scotch and cigar party, Casino Night, a raffle, a car wash, a golf or tennis outing, a jewelry or bridge party, a cooking class, a jewelry show, a Spring Triple Crown Horse Race, or a yard sale.
  • Organize a Catholic School Tag Day by seeking approval from the Day School principal to devote one of their Tag Day (out of uniform day) charities to benefit the seminarians during the Marathon season.
  • Sell donuts after Mass or before school.
  • Church Collection. Seek your pastor's approval to have a special weekend collection for a $1 donation to the RFV marathon. Last year, we had great success in soliciting funds from the parishes. You may want to ask your pastor to make an announcement to say that you will be asking for donations in the vestibule after Mass.
But, above all, don't forget to talk it up! Share your Marathon quest with everyone you know and, depending upon their ability to give, ask for donations for such a worthy cause.


Let Us Pray

Let us pray that more women and men may respond to that call through religious life.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of the priesthood and consecrated life.
We beseech your Holy Spirit to inspire men and women in the Archdiocese of Washington to answer the call to the priesthood and consecrated life.
Give them the courage to embrace their vocation, the faith and zeal to follow You with joy, and the perseverance to remain loyal friends of your Son.
Please protect and strengthen our seminarians, priests, deacons, brothers and religious sisters.
Help all Christians to become better disciples of Jesus, and when our earthly pilgrimage is complete, bring us to the joy of your Kingdom. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.


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Thank you for praying for our priests & seminarians. We welcome your comments. +JMJ+