Parish Community of Saint John the Evangelist 35 William St. Pittston, PA

SJE Vocations

Receive the Elijah Cup. This chalice has been used for the celebration of the Holy Mass. It is a reminder to all of us for the need to pray for vocations for the priesthood, religious life, and permanent deaconate. As you place this chalice in your home, please pray for our Archbishop, the priest and religious of this Archdiocese, and for me, your unworthy servant. 

Elijah Cup

Each week at Sunday Mass the celebrant will use the Elijah Cup as the chalice or a precious blood cup. After purifying the Elijah Cup at the end of Communion, he calls a family, individual, or couple forward to receive the Elijah Cup. They receive a blessing and take the cup home, putting it in a place of honor.
Each day for a week, during prayer time (morning, bedtime or at meals), they commit to using the Cup as a focal point for pray with the specific intention of an increase and perseverance of vocations, praying especially for those among their family and parish community. A prayer journal also travels with the Elijah Cup. Each week the family, individual, or couple that has the cup has the opportunity to enter a reflection, prayer, or scripture verse. Over time, this diary becomes a spiritual journal for the parish.
The following Sunday they return the Elijah Cup prior to the start of Mass, allowing time for the Cup to be prepared for use at that Mass and then presented to other recipients.
Praying for vocations is the most powerful way to support vocations. A vocation is a specific call from the Holy Spirit, whether marriage, priesthood or religious life, where we live out our call to holiness in a particular way. When we pray for vocations, we lift up to our Father those men and women who he is calling in a very special way. It is our hope that the fruit of this program will be the raising up of a culture in our Archdiocese that fervently prays for and supports vocations.
Meet Seminarian Kevin Miller                      
Home Parish:                                                                                               
St. Nicholas, Wilkes-Barre                                                                    
Year of Study:                                                                                              
Pre-Theology I at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary,
Weston, MA                                                                                                
What are some of the factors that led to your decision to enter the seminary and discern the question of a vocation to Diocesan Priesthood?
I’ve felt a call towards Diocesan Priesthood ever since I was twelve years old. I was an altar server at Holy Saviour Parish in the East End section of Wilkes-Barre. A number of good priests, most notably Father John Green, Father John Albosta and Father Robert Burnett, encouraged me to listen carefully to that “still, silent voice within” that often indicates the movement of the Holy Spirit towards any vocation in life, be it single, married, religious or priesthood. This ‘voice’ became more pronounced all throughout my high school years, particularly through my continued involvement as an altar server, lector and catechism instructor, as well as through my participation in the diocesan Chrism program at Fatima Center. I’d have to say that the single biggest factor in my on-going discernment was Father James Nash from St. Faustina Parish in Nanticoke, who at the time I knew as Mr. James Nash, my English teacher at Coughlin High School. He taught a course on the Bible as Literature that I took my senior year, and this course helped instill in me a love of the Word of God that I’ve held dear ever since. The year after I graduated from Coughlin, Father Nash retired from teaching and entered Blessed John XXIII Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts, now Pope Saint John XXIII Seminary, where I presently study.  Even though it would take me another thirty-two years to eventually enter the seminary, Father Nash’s encouragement, personal example, and love of the Church were truly ‘lights unto my feet’ to always stay open to the possibility of priesthood.  What Blessed (soon to be Saint) Mother Theresa of Calcutta once said certainly rings true to me, “God writes straight with crooked lines.”
What do you like most about being a seminarian?
Having sacred time and space to genuinely grow in holiness and deepen our relationship with God is a privilege. As Father Don Williams, Diocesan Director of Vocations and Seminarians, once so beautifully told me, “the most important thing we do in the seminary is endeavor to become as close to God as possible.” To have this unique opportunity to grow in faith, hope and love before the Lord is something I will be forever grateful for and will humbly cherish no matter where God leads me in life.
What is the role of prayer in your life?
Prayer is the lifeblood of any Christian, even more so a seminarian. One of the most important factors of any good relationship is open, honest and frequent communication, and prayer is how we communicate with God. The centerpiece of every day for me is the Hour of Great Mercy: 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. I reserve that hour to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Stations of the Cross and the Passion Prayers of St Bridget. I always leave the chapel with a sense of peace and gratitude for having reflected on the wonder of God’s infinite mercy towards us. I attend Mass and pray the Divine Offices in community or privately as the daily schedule dictates while praying five or more decades of the Rosary throughout the day.  For me, prayer is the fuel that keeps the fire of the Spirit inside me burning brightly.
What are some of your hobbies?
Reading, walking, weightlifting, watching Notre Dame Sports of any kind, and certainly just kicking back to relax.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about a vocation to Diocesan Priesthood?
Having spent four years as an undergraduate with the wonderful Jesuits at the University of Scranton, I learned a great deal about Ignatian spirituality. One of the central aspects of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola is the idea of magis, the Latin word for “more” or “better.”  As Christians, we should always seek themagis in all that we do, most especially in our relationship with God and each other. Anyone considering the call to priesthood should prayerfully consider each day in the spirit of magis how we answer the following questions:  What have I done for God? What am I doing for God? What MORE can I do for God? Then listen for God’s direction in the still quiet voice of the heart.
Posted by Diocese of Scranton Vocations blog 
Top Ten Things To Promote Vocations
For all Catholics:

1. Pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. Jesus says in Matthew 9:38 “to beg the master of the harvest to send laborers into the vineyard.” If we want more priests, sisters and brothers, we all need to ask.

2. Teach young people how to pray. Pope Benedict XVI said that unless we teach our youth how to pray, they will never hear God calling them into a deeper relationship with Him and into the discipleship of the Church.

3. Invite active young adults and teens to consider a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life. A simple, sincere comment should not be underestimated. An easy way to do this can be remembered by four letters: ICNU. “John, I see in you (ICNU) the qualities that would make a good priest, and I want to encourage you to pray about it.” It is a non-invasive way to encourage openness to a religious vocation.

4. Make it attractive. Show the priesthood for what it truly is – a call to be a spiritual father to the whole family of faith. Similarly, the consecrated life for a young woman is a call to be united to Christ in a unique way, and to be a spiritual mother to those she encounters in her life and service. The challenge for priests and religious is to be joyful models of their vocations.

5. Preach it, brother! Vocations must be talked about regularly if a “vocation culture” is to take root in parishes and homes. This means, first and foremost, the people need to hear about vocations from priests through homilies, prayers of the faithful, and discussions in the classroom. Vocations kept out of sight are out of mind.

For those considering a vocation:

6. Practice the faith. We all need to be reminded that the whole point of our lives is to grow in a deep, intimate and loving relationship with God. This is the first step for any young person desiring to discern any call in life.

7. Enter into the Silence. Silence is key to sanity and wholeness. We can only “hear” thevoice of God if we are quiet. Take out the ear buds of your iPhone, iPod, and iTunes andlisten to God, the great I AM. Young people should try to spend 15 minutes of quiet prayer each day – this is where you can begin to receive clear direction in your lives.

8. Be a good disciple. Some bishops say, “We do not have a vocation crisis; we have a discipleship crisis.” Young people can become true followers of Jesus Christ by serving those around them. By discovering your call to discipleship, you also discover your particular call within the Church.

9. Ask God. Ask God what He wants for your life and know He only wants what is good for you. If, in fact, you are called to the priesthood or consecrated life, it will be the path togreat joy and contentment.

10. In the immortal words of a famous sneaker manufacturer: “Just do it!” If you feel that God is inviting you to “try it out,” apply to the seminary or religious order. Remember, the seminary or convent is a place of discernment. You will not be ordained or asked to profess vows for many years, providing ample opportunity to explore the possibility of a call to priesthood or religious life.