August 6, 2012 | Volume 87, Number 20
Time with Christ in prayer inspires ministry
When he was a transitional, Father Michael Boehling accepted an invitation of the Missionaries of Charity to participate in a Holy Hour at their convent in Northeast Washington.
He had planned to arrive at the appointed time, and then thank the sisters after the Holy Hour and return to his room at the seminary, lie on the sofa and watch football on TV.
But it didn’t happen as he planned and he used the story to deliver an important message during his homily at Sunday Mass during the Diocesan Youth Conference.
“Deacon Boehling, would you like to see what we do?” one of the sisters eagerly asked.
Father Boehling candidly admitted that his first thought to the young sister’s invitation was that he had already seen what they do. He had knelt on a well-padded cushion during the Holy Hour while the sisters knelt on the hard floor as they prayed and sang in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.
In his mind, the sisters spent much time in prayer throughout their day. But the time in prayer inspired them to carry out their ministry to homeless men in Hospice care.
“But isn’t this what you do?” then Deacon Boehling asked one of the sisters who is a member of the worldwide community which Mother Teresa developed.
“Oh no, let us show you what else we do,” she joyfully responded.
“That was really the turning point,” Father Boehling said. “That’s when I saw they were living out Christian joy and bringing joy to the guests in their home.
“I went with the sister and saw the other sisters who take care of the homeless men who had cancer or AIDS,” he explained. “I saw them feeding them, bathing them, and talking to and praying with the guests of their home.
“It was just incredible,” he continued. “They had spent time with the Lord and then they were giving of themselves to people who needed it the most”
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the seeds of holy vocations to the priesthood and religious life were planted at the conference”
Father Boehling, diocesan Vicar for Vocations, used the example to challenge the young people as to what they were going to do next. They had experienced the same type of Holy Hour the previous night.
“What are you going to do with the blessing we’ve received this weekend?,” he asked.
He exhorted the young people to take their experience of Jesus they had received at the conference and “share the love of Christ with everyone we meet.”
One need not go to a missionary land to share the love of Christ, Father Boehling said.
“We can share it with our family, our schoolmates, whomever we meet,” he asserted.
The love of Christ and intimate relationship with him can allow us to do things we might consider difficult, he suggested and then related what one of the Missionaries of Charity told him about their ministry.
“We could not do this without Christ,” the sister told then Deacon Boehling.
In his role as Vicar for Vocations, Father Boehling said he was glad that so many of the diocese’s seminarians were present at the Youth Conference and gave witness to the joyful spirit they have while balancing their time in prayer and ministry as they prepare for priesthood.
He feels their visibility among the young people would inspire others to consider a religious vocation.“There’s no doubt in my mind that the seeds of holy vocations to the priesthood and religious life were planted at the conference,” he said.