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June 8, 1990     The Message
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June 8, 1990

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12 View Point I I II By MSGR. CLARENCE SCHLACHTER Director, Mission Office Lesotho in Africa is a country blessed with a large Catholic population. But, as in many mission areas, there is a shortage of priests there, and the average parish is spread out over miles and miles of land. One evening in the recent past, s missionary priest in Lesotho received an urgent call to come to a dying parishoner's home some 80 miles away. Father packed up his truck and set out on his journey. Some half way through the trip, he stop- ped for a break. Although it was the middle of the night, word spread rapidly throughout that village that "Father is here." The people had but one urgent request: Would he please celebrate the Eucharist with them? And so, in the pitch dark of that African night, by the headlights of his truck, that missionary priest joyously did just that. A great deal of happy news with respect to priestly vocations comes these days from the young mission churches of Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands and remote regions of Latin America. In the past five years, for instance, some 32 major seminaries have been opened in Africa to accom- modate that increase with 17 seminaries opened in Asia. Last year, some 1,685 more young men began studies for the priesthood in the major seminaries of the Developing World, bringing the total number of major seminarians to more than 20,000. There were 1,254 ordinations in the Mis- sions last year; 593 young men were ordained in Asia and 522 in Africa. Yet, throughout the missions, there is a need for priests, a need manifested in numerous incidents like the one the missionary priest in Lesotho ex- perienced. Mass becomes a "whenever the Father comes" happening in many mission villages. A young seminarian, studying in Fiji said, "In my village, the people used to talk about the need of a priest." With the need for priests so great, it is very urgent that, as our Holy Father pleads, "no voca- tion may be lost for lack of available means." It is true that young men in the Missions are respon- ding in great numbers to the Lord's call, a "sum- mons so intimate," explained the late National Director of the Propagation of the Faith, Arch- , ,i i .'..:i;,i:'! $ ': "'"iT n" """::Y ;" " ::' "'"'Y':" ""; ""g::i];! iLmmi1wgm Jlm 7]" :"" -*'::" Buehlers I'G.A. "The Thrifty Housewife's Source of Savings" QUALITY FOODS, MEATS "F" HUN l INGBURG Compliments Nass & Son Inc. FUNERAL HOME , Huntingburg, Ind. i . I1[ The Messa, -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Jun e 8, 1 Called by Christ to sel00e as priest bishop Fulton J. Sheen, that"there is no other way to describe it than 'God wants me,' and that seems too good to be true." But for many young men in the Missions, it could indeed be "too good to be true." Philip Oroci of Uganda comes from a people who live in real poverty. It is a struggle for his parents to provide for their seven children. In Philip's area there is a continuing increase in the number of Christians, yet because of a lack of priests, Mass can be celebrated in many villages only once or twice a year. Philip's people would readily, eagerly, assist him in his formation for the priesthood, but their poverty is too great. Jose is one of 12 children in a Brazilian family; he wishes very much to be a priest. Jose's father, a bricklayer, earns $60 a month. In the same village, another young man also wishes to serve Jesus as His priest, but lacks even shoes for his feet. Still another presented himself to the rector of the seminary there, brining with him all his earthly possessions: the clothing that he was wearing. A missionary in India tells of his people's seminary support: a daily sacrifice of a handful of rice from their tables. A seminary rector in Ghana in Africa speaks of becoming "severe" in his selection of candidates for priestly studies because of "the shortage of facilities and funds with the steady increase in vocations." On more than one occasion, the rector asked that promising candidates wait for admis- sion; many could not wait that long. Bishop William D'Mello in India speaks of one village where most of the people are farmers, till- ing lands owned by others. In spite of all the dif- ficulties, three young men from among those peo- ple were recently welcomed to the seminary here. They brought with them simply their bubbling en- thusiasm and the prayers of their families and other villagers. The rector of a seminary in Tanzania writes of the "humble and poor families" from which his students come. Relatives are not able to support them, but the students do their best to at least raise their own food on a farm near the seminary. "We are grateful indeed," writes that rector, "to the people who contribute through the Propagation of theFaith/Society of St. Peter Apostle for the sup- ? port of mission vocations. Our gratitutde to all of t you is to try to abide by the Lord's call to us and to keep you in our constant prayers." Father Aniello Salicone, rector of a seminary in Liberia, Africa, wrote: "Without the help of the Propagation of the Faith/Society of St. Peter Apos- tle, this seminary would not be able to operate. Only very few families of our students are able to give them some help. Some come to the seminary without bed sheets, others without a second pair of shoes; some come with very little clothing." Your contribution for the support of mission vocations, offered through the Society of St..Peter Apostle, affiliate of the Propagation of the Faith, can help Philip in Uganda, Jose and his neighbors L in Brazil, and other young men throughout the Missions, answer the call to follow Christ as priests, the call that Archbishop Sheen heard as "God wants me." That call, with your help, will not be "too good to be true" for these young men. Yearly help of $700 is needed for one year's sup- port of a seminarian; other amounts are needed for books, clothing and the basic needs of these young , men and the seminaries that train them. Your gift helps to make possible not only the seminary education of these young men but also the witness of these men as priests, the witness through which others may come to know Christ, to know the good news of the Gospel. There is En- drias Osman, for example. Growing up in a . " Muslim village in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, he was approached by a catechist and began instruction to i become a Catholic. Soon after, he entered the ii seminary, one supported by the Propagation of the Faith. A priest since 1986, he has brought many to .i the faith, including his own family and villagers, : many who had been openly hostile to Christianity.. People who give to this appeal help to ensure that "no vocation is lost for lack of available .... means," that no vocation is "too good to be true/ and most importantly, that many in the Missions come to know the Gospel through the witness of a priest. Won't you help to support a mission seminarian today? Please remember, especially, to - pray daily for vocations and for the perseverence of seminarians in their call from Christ. I thank you on behalf of each of Christ's future priests. i , iiiii i, , |' - r .......................... 1 uaeara I' HWY. 231 SOUTH I I dZlt! 1 Mi. 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