As is mentioned elsewhere in the vocations resources, prayer is essential to increasing vocations within the Church.
There is a special prayer apostolate that seeks to help fill that need—plus, it provides an opportunity for the homebound to participate in the overall vocations effort. This is the Prayer Apostolate of Suffering for Vocations, as promoted by many dioceses and their Office of Vocations. The Apostolate is quite simple: it is outlined in easy-to-follow format within a brochure. It provides numerous ideas for the homebound as to how they can offer their suffering for vocations, including a prayer for vocations and a morning offering.
Distribution methods include downloading and printing a PDF version of the brochure (see below), putting your diocese information on the back page and having Communion ministers take the brochures with them when they visit the homebound.
* Relatively inexpensive to moderately expensive (depending on transportation costs)
The concept of the apostolate of suffering goes well beyond—and much further back in history than—the aforementioned Prayer Apostolate of Suffering for Vocations.
It has been noted that, as he started Opus Dei in the late 1920s, St. Josemaria Escriva would often ask for prayers from the sick—and he credited those prayers with helping Opus Dei spread as broadly as it did. St. Josemaria called this the 'apostolate of suffering':
“Those who pray and suffer, leaving action for others, will not shine here on earth; but what a radiant crown they will wear in the kingdom of life! Blessed be the 'apostolate of suffering'!”
-St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way
Others have commented on the apostolate of suffering in the years since the time of St. Josemaria. Among them is a Jesuit priest, who noted that:
“...we serve others best when we do most for their souls. And we do most for their souls when we obtain graces from God for their numerous spiritual needs. If this means prayer, and it does, there is no more effective prayer than one that is joined with sacrifice, which in practice means prayer that is animated by the cheerful acceptance of the Cross.
The apostolate of suffering is not some exotic enterprise for only mystics or what we sometimes call 'victim souls.' It is open to everyone who has faith, and love, and zeal for souls.”
- Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
The following brochure is a guide that is provided by the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis; it outlines the Prayer Apostolate of Suffering for Vocations in easy-to-follow format. Having Communion ministers bring the brochures with them on visits to the homebound in order to distribute them is encouraged.
SPARK: Built by Serrans for Vocation Directors.
A service of Serra International, United States Council, in collaboration with the NCDVD.