Bishop Gruss discusses the state of priestly vocations and asks for help and prayers

On Thursday, September 14, faithful from across the Diocese of Saginaw gathered in Bay City for the Bishop's Banquet for seminarian education and vocations.

During his address, Bishop Gruss challenged those in attendance to do several things to help promote vocations.

“Imagine if each parish in the Diocese had a seminarian. Imagine that.”  

Although Bishop Gruss expressed excitement at the thought of a much larger number of seminarians, he said, “I want to be realistic. I want to share with you this evening where we are and the challenges that we face going forward.” 

Bishop Gruss then noted that the Diocese has only 14 priests under the age of 50 (excluding several priests who recently arrived from India).  

“The Diocese has more than 50 parishes. More than half of the priests in the Diocese are of retirement age. 75 percent of those priests are still involved in priestly ministry on a regular basis.” 

Bishop Gruss asked those in attendance to thank those priests and to imagine what would happen if just five them were no longer able to serve the Diocese.  

“Some of you would not be able to receive the Eucharist on Saturday or Sunday, unless you traveled to another parish. It is very easy to take for granted the fact that you are able to have Mass every weekend. Making this assumption would not be wise on your part! My friends, this is the reality of this Diocese right now. It’s not meant to be a 'bummer'. It’s important for you to know what we’re facing. This is why you’re here this evening. Because you want (with me and all the priests) to face this challenge head on.” 

Bishop Gruss then requested everyone in the room to invite the men they know to pray about a priestly vocation. 

“We all know young men who have the qualities and talents and disposition that would make them a good priest. They are your sons and grandsons and great grandsons; they are your nephews, your neighbors. How about sharing that reality with them in a conversation and ask them to pray about a priestly vocation. You are not asking them join the seminary. You are asking them to pray. ’” 

Bishop Gruss then requested the people of the Diocese to fast and pray for vocations on a regular basis. 

“I challenge you to take a day once a week to pray and fast for this intention,” said Bishop Gruss.  

He also asked the faithful to make an effort to create a culture of vocations in their parish. “I can’t do this alone,” Bishop Gruss said. “I need vocation recruiters, all of you, to do that.” 

He explained that a vocation recruiter is someone who personally invites another to consider a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life. 

Finally, Bishop Gruss asked the faithful of the Diocese to join him at his Holy Hours for vocations when he comes to a nearby parish.

"Make the sacrifice to drive a little bit if needed," said Bishop Gruss. "The Lord uses our sacrifices for a greater good." 

Bishop Gruss closed by thanking everyone for their support of vocations and asked them to keep him in their prayers. 

Video: Bishop Gruss discusses the state of priestly vocations and asks for help and prayers 

Musical performance

Musical performance during the banquet to support seminarian education from Catholic Diocese of Saginaw on Vimeo.