By JOANNE FOX
The Serra Club of Siouxland has partnered with Sacred Heart School in Sioux City in a program to encourage vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
The endeavor draws attention to National Vocations Awareness Week, Nov. 4-10, a celebration in the Catholic Church dedicated to promoting vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life through prayer and education. The week also encourages a renewal of prayers and support for those who are considering a vocation.
Serra Club of Siouxland is observing that week and beyond with students, faculty, staff and administration at Sacred Heart, who are participating in the Holy Chalice prayer program.
Under the direction of Father Terry Roder, pastor, and Kate Connealy, principal, a chalice was processed in to the school Mass on Oct. 23. After Mass, a student processed out with the chalice, transporting the vessel to its prayer area in the fifth classroom. Each day, all students recite a prayer for vocations.
At the next school Mass, the chalice will be processed in by a member of the fifth grade. At the end of Mass, a student from the sixth grade will process the chalice out of the church and into the prayer area of that classroom.
Both Father Roder and Connealy saw merit in participating in the program.
“Doing this makes a connection between the chalice, Mass and the priesthood,” he said. “The chalice is certainly a symbol of the priesthood, which uses it in the consecration at Mass. But this also goes beyond the priesthood, as the students pray for vocations of all kinds.”
Connealy gave credit to Serra Club member Cleo Harder, also a parishioner at Sacred Heart, for recommending the program.
“When Cleo called me at the end of the last school year and suggested this take place around Vocations Awareness Week, I thought it was a great idea,” she said.
The chalice began with fifth grade class and will move on to the sixth, seventh and eighth grade rooms.
“We chose not to include the kindergarten to fourth grade with the chalice program, but they will be adding Vocation Prayers to their day during that time,” Connealy said.
Fifth grade student Ruby Lamoreux processed the chalice out during the all-school Mass on Oct. 23.
“I think the honor of having it in the classroom is great,” she said. “It reminds us to pray for all vocations.”
Classmate Manuel Martinez echoed those sentiments.
“It’s a nice thing to have in our classroom,” he said. “Plus, we learned the Fatima Prayer as well as saying the Vocations Prayer.”
Both pupils admitted having the chalice present in the room didn’t spur thoughts of a vocation for themselves. That was no surprise for Connealy.
“But the presence of that chalice makes them talk about what it means and what ‘vocations’ means,” she said. “It certainly brings more awareness and alerts them to the need for more vocations to the priesthood and religious life.”