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Bishop Burbidge encourages Hispanic vocations

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Around 1,000 people filled Christ the Redeemer Church in Sterling for the annual Mass to Pray for Vocations April 22. Bishop Michael F. Burbidge was joined at the noon Spanish Mass by other priests, including Atonement Father Francis Eldridge, pastor, and Father Juan A. Puigbó, parochial vicar of All Saints Church in Manassas with special care of St. Gabriel Mission in Manassas Park. 

“You bless our church with the beautiful gift of married love and family life,” Bishop Burbidge told the Hispanic parishioners. “We need you to work in a very particular way to bless the church with more vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life from your families.”

In his homily, Father Puigbó spoke about the universal call to holiness. “But how can we make that vocation complete? We need to discern God's will,” he said. “What is important is for parents to accompany their children in discovering their particular vocation by praying together, by listening to them, and referring them later on to a priest or a person who is able to help them discern.”

The Diocese of Arlington is about 45 percent Hispanic, but less than 10 percent of the seminarians are Hispanic, said Father J.D. Jaffe, vocations director. “It's important to have a Mass that brings the Hispanic community together across the diocese to pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life,” he said.  “We’re trying to help these communities pray for this, to be open to this, to plant seeds in hearts and help families to see that this is a good thing.”

Toward the end of Mass, a family took home a statue of Our Lady and promised to pray for vocations this week as part of an ongoing program at Christ the Redeemer. Children also came up and greeted Bishop Burbidge, a few handing him handwritten notes. Afterward, Bishop Burbidge expressed his hope that many of these children would grow up to be the diocese’s priests and religious. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018