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For a third straight year, the Serra Club of Boston will offer the faithful an opportunity to participate in its successful and popular "Adopt-a-Priest Apostolate."
Serra Boston initiated the Adopt-a-Priest Apostolate on Priesthood Sunday, Oct. 31, 2009. The goal of the apostolate is to have each bishop and diocesan priest covered in daily prayer on an ongoing basis by a "spiritual adopter." Every year since the inception of the apostolate, sealed envelopes are prepared, each containing a folder with the name of a diocesan priest, his photo, date of ordination and the month and day of his birthday. The envelopes are distributed randomly and in the order in which a request is received.
Throughout the year, adopters are encouraged to support "their priest" by suggested activities such as eucharistic adoration, praying the rosary, offering Communions, fasting, remembering special days with a greeting card, or praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Anyone undertaking a spiritual adoption should consider daily prayer and sacrifice on behalf of their assigned priest to be a serious commitment.
Families and prayer communities may also adopt a priest as a group. In addition to the spiritual dimension, adopters are encouraged to contact their priest in order to let him know that he has been "adopted" and that he is being remembered in prayer on a daily basis by name. The two special dates of ordination and birthday are included so as to encourage the faithful to remember their priest with a card or special offering of prayer on those days. There is no cost associated with membership in the apostolate, but donations to help defray the cost of the apostolate are always gratefully accepted.
Father Dan Hennessey, Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Boston and the founding chaplain for Serra Boston, has described the apostolate as "an excellent way to spiritually support priests who serve in the Archdiocese of Boston... involvement in this apostolate will increase your own faith in Christ and His Church and be a source of grace for you to grow in love for priests."
This year, on Saturday, Oct. 22, Cardinal Seán will acknowledge, in a special way, all those who for the past two years have spiritually adopted the priests of the archdiocese. At 10 a.m. on that day, the cardinal will celebrate the first public Feast Day Mass honoring Blessed John Paul II at the cathedral -- a pope who is well-known for promoting prayerful support of the clergy and beautiful writings on the dignity of the priesthood. All past and future adopters are invited to attend this special liturgy, as well as anyone who prays for priests, whether by formal participation in the apostolate or not. The event is being sponsored by both the Vocations Office and the Serra Club of Boston, who have worked in conjunction in order to make the Adopt-a-Priest Apostolate a successful endeavor each year.
The new adoption folders for 2011-2012 will be available beginning Oct. 22 at the cathedral after the Mass with Cardinal Seán. People who wish to participate in the apostolate can also register on the Serra Boston website at www.serraboston.org or call 978-462-1057. Serra Boston was chartered in 2008 with a mission to encourage, support, and affirm vocations to the priesthood and religious life. The club meets at St. Mary's in Waltham on the third Saturday of every month, beginning with Mass at 8:30 a.m. New members are always welcome.