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November 6, 1987     The Message
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November 6, 1987

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November 6, 1987 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 3 By FATHER DAVID FLECK Director of Vocations Diocese of Evansville Vocations come to us in faith 9 let us not forget power of prayer Beginning this Sunday, Nov. 8, we are invited to observe and participate in Vocation Awareness Week in our diocese. Is it going to be another of those times when we say "oh that is nice" but then go on without much thought, reflection or prayer? I feel we need to challenge each other and ourselves to spend some time reflecting on the idea of vocation and possibly bring ourselves to the point of some action. Vocation, in its general sense, means that call which comes to each of us in Baptism to live the way of Jesus Christ. It is good for us to assess our response to His call and look for ways to deepen our commitment to His Life and Word. In our world of today that is no easy task. There are so many different ideas coming at us that we can become very confused about the direction of our lives and our response to the teachings of Jesus Christ. He gives us the challenge to take up our cross and follow. The cross has never been a sym- bol of an easy way of life, instead it carries the no- tion of difficulty and suffering. Are we willing to accept the cross as well as the joy in living our basic vocation given to us in Baptism. The living of our call in the adult world takes one of four avenues: Marriage, Single Life, Or- dained Ministry (priesthood and permanent diaconate) or Religious Life. Each of these voca- tions is a unique expression of our baptismal voca- tion. Each has its rewards and special fulfillments as well as its own cross. God has given us the gift to live a particular style of life and our challenge is to live it to the fullest. All of the vocations have been questioned by our society as regards their meaning and value. Some discount the importance of any kind of commitment while others question our ability to make life-time promises. Yet because of the beauty underlying each way of life we are challenged to make a choice and live as best we can that particular vocation to which, we feel, God is calling us. Those who have been called to marriage ac- cept the invitation from the Lord to grow together as a couple in His presence and love. They also have the privilege of sharing in the creation pro- cess in a unique way by bringing new human life into the world. The vocation of marriage is a special opportunity which should be entered and lived only with a great deal of reflection and prayer. The single life offers a person the invitation to give of themselves in a fuller way to the communi- ty or to an individual such as the extended care of a parent. Sometimes the attitude has been prevalent that a single person has not been able to find a marriage partner, but very often it is a deliberate choice to be of service in a different specialized fashion. Many single persons give of themselves in an unselfish manner for the better- ment of the society in which we live. The third area of vocational choice is the or- dained ministry and religious life. This way of life includes the call to live a life of prayer and service dedicated to the work of Jesus Christ. In the past twenty-five years we have seen a major exodus from the ranks as well as serious evaluation of the way of life and an ongoing attempt to update the lifestyle to correspond with society in the twen- tieth century. It remains a call to a life of prayer and service. As I reflect on my own life, especially on the past 12 years of priesthood, I thank God for the privilege of sharing in peoples' lives as they con- tinue their efforts to grow in the ways of Jesus Christ. It has been a unique opportunity to touch individuals as they address particular situations in life, be it baptism, marriage or death as well as the joys and crosses of daily living. It is a way of life which offers a richness through the privilege of sharing so deeply in people's spiritual journey. In reflecting on all of the vocations, several points come to mind. One is that in whatever path of life we choose we are called to a total commit- ment of ourselves to the way of Jesus Christ. That commitment does not come easy, but brings with it both the joy and the cross. Also we often overlook the importance of family support in the choice of vocation a person makes. The family, through its encouragement or discouragement, frequently changes the direction of a young person's life. Finally, the need of prayer is so often neglected. Persons trying to choose a direction of life need to take time to reflect and pray over their choice of life. We, too, need to pray that the Spirit of the Lord will direct those making vocational choices and that they will have the strength and courage to respond to the urgings of the Spirit. During this week of vocation awareness, let us give special attention and prayer to the vocations of Ordained Ministry and Religious 'Life. A number of men and women consider the possibility of such a lifestyle but they never go further because of the lack of support ' be it from family or friends Sometimes'a young person does not seek more ih- formation because no one seems to recognize the possibility of a vocation in that individual's life, nor are they invited to consider the priesthood or religious life. Ou support is crucial. The respon- sibility of invitation and encouragement lies with all of. us. What are we doing to bring about a greater awareness of the sense of vocation among all our people, young and old alike? Through Baptism, the call is given to come and follow. Through Mar- riage, Single Life, Ordained Ministry and Religious Life, the invitation to respond in a particular style of life is received. Vocation comes to us in faith, so let us not overlook the power of prayer. Indeed, let us pray that people who are making choices to- day will follow the invitation of our God; i Father Shaughnessy says pn'esthood right decision By MARY ANN HUGHES Message Staff Writer Father John Shaughnessy has been a priest 55 years and he credits his decision to enter the priesthood to some heavy duty praying by his oldest sister, Mary, and a few gentle hints now and then from Bishop Joseph Chartrand, then bishop of Indianapolis. Father Shaughnessy was one of six children born to Irish Catholic parents at the turn of the century in Indianapolis. It was. a pretty traditional childhood, he remembers, and it was filled with lots of Catholic customs. He and his brother, Thomas, walked a mile to attend St. John INSURANCE -- REAL ESTATE 464-5993 School and when the family moved into a larger home in Cathedral parish the two boys were able to attend Cathedral High School. The Shaughnessy family didn't have a lot of money, he said, but the sons were able to attend the new high school, "because when Bishop Char- trend started it, he said it would be a free Catholic high school." It was during their high school years, when Bishop Chartrand was at Cathedral parish, that the seed was planted in many young men's minds to join the priesthood. Father Shaughnessy remembers how Bishop Chartrand would spend hours every morning at the church, hearing confessions and giving communion. "He had hundreds of people there every day and he would Christopher East Living Center - Large Spacious Rooms o Medicare, Medicaid & V.A. 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"I think her prayers and good works were responsible for Father Patrick and I going:And due to her prayers, we got along and persevered." His sister joined the Sisters of Providence at St. Mary-of-the-Woods and taught seventh and eighth graders "for many years," Father Shaughnessy said. Thomas Shaughnessy joined the Benedictine order at St. Meinrad and chose his father's name, Patrick. He spent 25 years teaching at St. Meinrad Seminary. He also served as chaplain for the sisters and students at Immaculate Concep- tion Convent at Ferdinand. He was a priest for 55 years until his death this October. Father John Shaughnessy spent his years in the priesthood as a parish priest in churches throughout the dioceses of both ndianapolis and Evansville. He retired in 1978 and resides at St, Thomas parish, Knox County. Of his the priesthood, Father Shaughnessy says, "I never changed my mind and I never had any doubts." Please patronize Message advertisers! HWY. 62 W. BOONVILLE, IN OLD HWY. 41 N. 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