For Vocation Directors

#18 School Traveling Crucifix Program

Summary

The School Traveling Crucifix Program provides students with a significant focal point for daily prayer in the classroom—and for conversation about the importance of vocations.

A beautiful crucifix is selected to “travel” to different classrooms in a school, with each class committing to host the crucifix for one week and to pray daily for vocations.

This is a wonderful—and easy-to-organize—way to involve students in praying for vocations, and to unite the school in perpetual prayer for priests and consecrated life.  This program and a similar one for parishes and dioceses have enjoyed growing popularity around the country.  Many Serra Clubs and Knights of Columbus have been willing to cover the cost of the Traveling Crucifix Kit.

 

Program Outline

    • Traveling crucifix program
      • Provides students with focal point for daily prayer
      • Provides students with focal point for conversation about vocations
    • Crucifix is selected to be taken from classroom to classroom within a school
      • Each class commits to…
        • host for one week
        • pray daily for vocations
    • Easy-to-organize way to…
      • involve students in praying for vocations
      • unite the school in perpetual prayer for priests and consecrated life
    • Program has enjoyed growing popularity around America

 

Implementation

Using Serrans / Volunteers

  • Acquiring crucifix
  • Organizing / keeping track of schedule as to which classroom hosts the crucifix which week of the school year

 

Program History, Development, and Additional Resources

There are many different suppliers and options to obtain your Traveling Crucifix. Consider asking your parish or parish priest for a crucifix; asking your local Knights of Columbus or Serra Club about funds for purchasing a crucifix; or, asking a school family to build the case or make the bag for transporting the crucifix.  Another option is to simply purchase a crucifix.  The following is a list of a few sources where they are available:

www.icatholicstore.com/product

www.leafletonline.com

www.st-jude.com

www.churchsuppliescatalog.com

www.thecatholicshop.com

www.oconnorscatholicsupply.com

Among best practices is the following programmatic outline that's ready to use in your diocese or parish or school:

1. This program can be implemented in a variety of settings. Obtain the support of the person who has oversight for the chosen setting:

a. The principal for a school setting

b. The Superintendent of Catholic Schools for a diocesan-wide initiative

2. Whether the program is initiated in a single school or across a diocese, select one key individual to serve as program director, one director per Traveling Crucifix.

3. Obtain supplies

a. Crucifix

b. Carrying case or bag

c. Daily Vocation Prayers to be handed out to each student during the crucifix's visit.

d. Teacher Guide: a short description for the teacher to use in explaining the program and beginning the week-long visit of the Traveling Crucifix.

4. Schedule the following

a. A time when a particular class will receive the crucifix, for example, from the priest at the end of a school Mass, from a procession of students from the former class or in the school office on a certain day.

b. A time and location for returning the crucifix or passing it on.

5. Advertise

a. Start with an invitation by teachers, principals, school chaplains, and/or the Superintendent of Catholic Schools.

b. Arrange for program announcements in classes and school communications.

c. Organize the schedule of classroom visits for the Traveling Crucifix.

d. Arrange for weekly reminders about a return time and location, another to the next host classroom about a time and location to receive the crucifix.

6. Launch the Program

a. Arrange crucifix in its carrying case/bag with Daily Vocation Prayers and Teacher Guide.

b. The first classroom receives the crucifix in the arranged manner. The teacher places the crucifix in a safe and prominent location, explains the significance of the crucifix, distributes or projects Daily Vocation Prayers, and prays with the students each day during the week of the visit.  An electronic copy of daily prayers for projection are located at the bottom of the page of this link: https://serraus.org/programs/

The following is reflective of best practices for announcing the program; these should be adapted to your group's/location's circumstances:

1. Announcing the Program:

To promote prayer for and awareness of vocations, our school is introducing the Traveling Crucifix Program to begin on [date]. Each week, a class hosts the Traveling Crucifix, puts it in a prominent place, and prays daily for vocations. This is a wonderful way to unite our school community in perpetual prayer for priests and consecrated life. A schedule will be constructed and shared at a faculty meeting.

The following suggested teacher guide text can be printed, laminated or put in a plastic sleeve, and included with the Traveling Crucifix:

Dear Teachers,

Thank you for sharing in our efforts to promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Your prayers are essential for raising up vocations in our Church. Remember the words of our Lord: “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38).

The purpose of the Traveling Crucifix Program is to encourage people to pray for and promote vocations. Your class was presented with the crucifix. This crucifix is offered to help serve as a visible reminder of your commitment to pray together as a class for vocations during this week and as a reminder that the Mass does not end with the closing prayer.

This crucifix represents the sacrifice Jesus made for us by dying on the cross. We suggest that you place it in some highly visible place in the classroom where it is safe. We ask that your whole classroom pray together once each day for vocations. You may distribute and use the enclosed Daily Vocation Prayers or substitute with the Rosary or a simple Lord's Prayer (Our Father), Hail Mary, or the Glory Be. Please feel free to adapt enclosed prayers to the age of your students.

During this week, we encourage you to talk about vocations, about God's plan for us to grow in holiness, and answer any questions. You should feel free to let the students see and hold the crucifix, even young children if supervised, making sure they treat it respectfully, like all sacred objects.

Thank you for your commitment to praying for vocations this week!

 

Your group can purchase Vocation Prayer Cards from Vianney Vocations to include with the crucifix such as:

Prayer to Know My Vocation –go to Vianneyvocations.com

Daily Prayer for Priests Card

https://www.vianneyvocations.com/product/daily-prayer-for-priests/

Find other prayer card resources at http://www.invisiblemonastery.com -- or make copies of any of the following prayers, one for each student, and include with the Traveling Crucifix:

Monday: Prayer to Know One's Vocation

Intention: We pray for all of those who might not know their vocation in life. Through prayer and with God's help, may they come to know His will for their lives.

Lord, my God and my loving Father, You have made me to know You, to love You, to serve You, and thereby to find and fulfill myself. I know that every path can lead me to You, but of them all, there is one especially by which You want me to come to You. Since I will do what You want of me, I pray, send Your Holy Spirit to me: into my mind, to show me what You want of me; into my heart, to give me the determination to do it, and to do it with all my love, with all my mind, and with all my strength, right to the end. Amen.

Tuesday: Prayer to Mother of the Church

Intention: We pray that we might grow in our love and devotion to Mary.

We turn to you, Mary, Mother of the Church. Through your “yes,” you have opened the door that makes Christ present in the world, in history, and in individual lives. In humble silence and in total availability, you welcomed the call of the Most High. May there be many men and women in our day who respond to your Son's invitation: “Follow me!” Grant them courage to follow Christ along the road that He walked. Mary, Queen of Apostles, pray for us and for an increase of priestly and religious vocations. Amen.

Wednesday: Litany for Vocations

Intention: We pray for an increase in religious vocations.

[Prayer Leader]

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, hear us.

God the Father of heaven,

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,

God the Holy Spirit,

Holy Mary,

St. Joseph, protector of the Holy Church,

St. Theresa of the Child Jesus,

St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests,

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton,

St. Charles Borromeo, patron of seminarians,

St. Katherine Drexel,

St. Stephen, patron of deacons,

St. John Berchmans, patron of altar servers,

St. Junipero Serra,

All you holy men and women,

Through your mercy,

Through our prayers and sacrifices,

Through the power of the Mass,

Through the holiness of families,

 

[Response]

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, hear us.

Have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us.

Pray for us.

Pray for us.

Pray for us.

Pray for us.

Pray for us.

Pray for us.

Pray for us.

Pray for us.

Pray for us.

Pray for us.

Pray for us.

Send workers into Your harvest, Lord.

Send workers into Your harvest, Lord.

Send workers into Your harvest, Lord.

Send workers into Your harvest, Lord.

 

All:

Let us pray: O God, who chose the Apostles to make disciples of all nations, we earnestly implore You to choose among us many priests and religious who will love You with their whole heart and will gladly spend their entire lives making You known and loved. Amen.

 

Thursday: Prayer for Students at Our School

Intention: We pray that, if it be God's will, there might be vocations to the priesthood and religious life from our own school and that they be supported through our encouragement.

Lord Jesus Christ, we bring to You in prayer the young people of our school. Give them hearts open to hear Your voice. Help them to be generous in responding to Your call. Give them the grace to persevere in overcoming all the pressures in our world that keep them from embracing and truly living their vocation. Graciously grant to parents a living faith and an ardent love, which will inspire them to encourage their children to live holy lives. May parents genuinely encourage and foster the God-given vocation of their children and help them to respond generously. Let them rejoice when a child of theirs is called to be a priest or religious. May the example of Your life and that of Joseph and Mary encourage parents and children to form holy families and let Your grace sustain them. Amen.

Friday: Prayer for all priests and religious that have served your school

Intention: We pray for our school, that it may grow in holiness and that from among its members there may be priests and religious to serve the Church.

Heavenly Father, bless Your Church with an abundance of holy and zealous priests, deacons, brothers, and sisters. To those you have called to the married state and those you have chosen to live as single persons in the world, grant the special graces that their lives require. Form us all in the likeness of your Son so that in Him, with Him, and through Him we may love you more deeply and serve you more faithfully, always and everywhere. With Mary, we ask this through Christ our Lord.

Prayer #1 (Pope Francis I Prayer for Vocations)

Intention:  With the Holy Father, we pray for an increase in priestly and religious vocations throughout the universal Church.

LORD of the Harvest,

BLESS young people with the gift of courage to respond to your call.

Open their hearts to great ideals, to great things.

INSPIRE all of your disciples to mutual love and giving—for vocations blossom in the good soil of faithful people.

INSTILL those in religious life, parish ministries, and families, with the confidence and grace to invite others to embrace the bold and noble path of a life consecrated to you.

UNITE us to Jesus through prayer and sacrament, so that we may cooperate with you in building your reign of mercy and truth, of justice and peace. Amen.

Prayer #2: Prayer to Know My Vocation

I glorify You, God in all that I do.

In Mind, body, and spirit

I give my best to you.

 

Help me to follow your will

No matter the Call:

Sister, brother, or priest,

I promise my all.

 

If you call me to marriage,

I promise to love,

And to teach my own children

To seek grace from above.

 

Glory be to the Father,

and to the Son,

and to the Holy Spirit,

as it was in the beginning,

is now, and ever shall be,

world without end. Amen.

Please pray a Hail Mary, Our Father and Glory Be in thanksgiving for all the priests and religious that have served our school.

 

For more ideas on implementing and adapting the Traveling Crucifix Program to your classroom or school, consider these ideas and visit these sites:

Consider:

Projecting the Daily Vocation Prayer, rather than distributing cards or copies of prayers.

Inviting a priest or religious brother/sister to visit your classroom and talk about vocations during the week your class hosts the Traveling Crucifix.

Include a small notebook with the Traveling Crucifix to log thoughts and ideas that arise during the week.

Find teacher resources and talking points for discussing vocations at www.vocationlessons.com

 

Other Resources

See ideas, recommendations, sample announcements and letters, prayer books, and more at a few of the schools, parishes, and dioceses which have adopted a Traveling Chalice/Crucifix Program:

Traveling Crucifix Teacher's Booklet

Print this file for the teacher notebook to accompany the School Traveling Crucifix Vocation Kit.  We have made it easy for you--it includes: an explanation of the program, hints, prayers and lesson plans to accompany the School Traveling Crucifix Vocation Kit.

Download Traveling Crucifix Teacher's Booklet

Archdiocese of St. Louis, MO (has helpful brochure in both Spanish and English, with directions, discussion questions, and suggested prayers.)

►  http://archstl.org/vocations/page/vocation-prayer-chalice-program

Diocese of Saint Cloud, MN.

►  http://vocations.stcdio.org/chalice/

Video from Catholic News Herald (Diocese of Charlotte, NC) which is titled, “The Traveling Chalice Makes Its Way through St. Gabriel School in Charlotte”; the video (2:24 in length) details a Traveling Chalice Program as implemented within a Catholic school in the diocese:

►  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FD-Bn-PJcOI

SPARK: Built by Serrans for Vocation Directors.
A service of Serra International, United States Council, in collaboration with the NCDVD.

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