Photo: Felix Carroll
Six men made their first temporary vows on Aug. 15. 2010. The Marians’ recent success in attracting vocations can be directly attributed to Mary, says Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC.
The Mother of Vocations
By Dan Valenti (Mar 7, 2011)
Saint Ambrose once wrote that the Blessed Mother is "the hope of the Church." Without her direction, he said, the Church would have a much more difficult time being truthful and faithful to Christ.
Beginning early in Church history, the Church Fathers established an ecclesiastical tradition of personifying the Church through the person of Mary Immaculate, chosen by God to be the Mother of God.
It was through Mary that Jesus came physically to us, and it is through her, St. Ambrose wrote, that we will return to God through the redemption made possible by the death and Resurrection of her Son. Thus, Mary is crucial to our spiritual rebirth.
In 1964, Pope Paul VI wrote that Our Lady, as the "Mother of Christ, [is] therefore the Mother of us. She is the model of Christian perfection, the mirror of true virtues, [and] the pride of true humanity."
The logical extrapolation of this teaching is that Mary can also be called Mother of Vocations. Mary gave birth to Jesus, who founded the Church. Consequently, the Blessed Mother is Mother of the Church. Thus, anything that is of concern to the Church becomes Mary's own concern. One of those issues is the pressing problem of vocations.
We can easily see why Our Lady can be called the Mother of Vocations. The recent abundance of vocations to the religious life of young men wanting to become members of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception gives credence to this, since, to a man, they credit Mary for their religious calling.
Recently ordained Marian priests such as Frs. Andy Davy, MIC; Fr. Ken Dos Santos, MIC; Jim McCormack, MIC; and Michael Gaitley, MIC, all give Mary credit for guidance in discerning, responding to, and fulfilling their religious vocations.
"Our Lady gave me the perfect model of sacrificial love," Fr. Jim says. "She answered God's call to become the Mother of God. It couldn't have been easy, but she did it. That has given me the strength to answer my own calling and to make a promise that, like her, I would deny Christ nothing."
While many religious congregations are experiencing a decline in vocations, the Marians — founded in 1673 to spread devotion to Mary as the Immaculate Conception — are experiencing a dramatic upswing. There are 25 men in formation in the U.S. with the Marians, a fact that Vocation Director Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, calls "phenomenal."
Father Donald, who has a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother, says the young men who have decided to respond to their religious calling share two main traits: They are faithful to the Church, and "they're 'Marian,' that is, 'of Mary' — they love Our Lady immensely. There's no question that the numbers we're now seeing are the prayerful fruits of Mary's care for our Congregation."
Overall, there are eight men in the novitiate. Six made first temporary vows on Aug. 15, 2010. On that day, nine Marians renewed temporary vows. Finally, Deacon Angelo Casimiro, MIC, and Deacon James Cervantes, MIC, will be ordained priests later this year.
At their ordinations as priests, Deacons Angelo and James will be the recipients of a chalice fashioned from small bits of pewter that Marian Helpers have been returning with their offerings.
Learn how you can become a Marian Helper — helping the Marians to spread the message of The Divine Mercy and devotion to Mary Immaculate.