Spotlight: Immaculate Conception Parish
One of the best ways to help foster a culture for vocations to grow is to pray for them in the home. With that thought in mind, the Vocations Committee at Immaculate Conception Parish in Jefferson City began just such a prayer program in parishioner neighborhoods in November 2008. A Vocation Cross travels from home to home for a week at a time. With the cross comes a “Five Minutes a Day for Seven Days” prayer book. Each day has its own prayer and reflection. With over 1500 families in the parish, the committee began with crosses and booklets in three neighborhoods at a time. It takes time to cover all areas in the parish family, but time spent praying for Vocations is how seeds will be sown and, what better place to start than in the home. The cross arrives in a home on Saturday as the prayer book starts with Sunday and concludes the following Saturday. A designated person or family then takes the cross to the next neighborhood home whom they have contacted in advance. Some neighborhoods have more parishioners than others so when the cross has been to all the homes in an area it moves to another area. Periodically, general signups at weekend Masses are done so Vocations Committee members know what area to concentrate on next. At the same time the crosses began in the neighborhoods, Immaculate Conception school began this same type of prayer program, except it only runs from Monday to Friday. Initially, a student took the cross home to his or her family on Monday and returns it on Friday of the same week. Now, the cross passes through the different homerooms in the school and each class prays for vocations in a special way when they have the cross.
The parish Vocations Committee meets monthly and coordinates with the Diocesan Vocation Office in the following ways: assists and encourages attendance at Diocesan Youth Events, e.g., Adoration for Youth at the Pastoral Center; Senior and Junior High Youth Rallies; Mothers Teas; NCYC; Encounter with God’s Call; Nun runs; Pro-Life Trip to Washington, DC; Vocations Awareness Week; provides cookies for Confirmation Vocation Reflection Days; VIP; Sixth Grade Vocation Day; provides a meal for the CHRISTpower team; Companion Camp; Camp Maccabee; Camp Sienna, rosaries for vocations, etc. Presently the committee is working on implementing ways to show parish support to the 20 Seminarians studying for our Diocese. Two of the Seminarians studying at Conception Seminary are from our parish. We are very proud of these two men, but continually pray and look for ways to cultivate more vocations, not just to priesthood, but to the religious life.
What better opportunities are there to educate adults and students about priestly and religious life than in prayer and reflection? All these endeavors bring nourishment for the mind, body, and soul.