Mostly seminarians are so excited when summer is approaching. Some of us are excited to go home, for vacation, to visit our family and friends, but most of all, we are all excited for our summer assignments. Two years ago, I was assigned to the same church that I am currently doing my summer apostolate. I am so glad to see old folks in the church and meet new people who just arrived in the area. When I was driving a couple of weeks ago to see the pastor of the parish and to visit the church, I was so amazed of the increasing numbers of people coming into Horizon City. New establishments and new schools pop up everywhere like mushrooms in the neighborhood. Holy Spirit community has changed since my last assignment two years ago. However, in the midst of growing economy and population of El Paso, the sacramental needs of the people are also rising because of the people coming in to the city. Pastors of every parishes of the diocese of El Paso are gaining more parishioners. Big and small churches are all pack every Sunday, and baptisms, confirmations first communion are also increasing in numbers.
To witness the rapid growth of El Paso is very impressive. However, for the serving priest in the parishes it is an additional work and responsibility. People needing the sacraments are growing rapidly, but the priests performing the sacraments are less. There is no doubt that the people of El Paso are firm and well established Catholics, but the people responding the call of the God to serve His people is not as impressive as the growing number of the people of the city. Some priests are asking why people entering the seminary are decreasing or what are the reasons that hinder them from answering the call of God to the priesthood. One of the priests that helped to celebrate the Holy Eucharist in the Holy Spirit Church asked me the same question; I answered him, “the calling to serve God must be nourished from the family”. Each and every family is the vineyard of every vocation. The seed of the Word of God is planted and sustained in the family. That small seed will grow and flourish as the time passes by. Vocation is a gift from God poured to each and every family, but this wonderful gift will not produce and generate fruit. The same with the vocation in every heart of each person, it must be fed by the family and cared by the community. Our young blood in this generation needs care and love from the family and community. They are the future of our Church; through them we can see what kind of Church we can expect for the future. As believers of Christ, are we looking at the future Church as growing and active or as surviving? The answer to this questions lies in the hands of each family of this diocese. May each one of us be an instrument to nourish the seed of God’s call in each and every heart of our younger generation, for they are the future of our Mother Church.