Special Prayers and a Unique Story
to Celebrate World Day of Prayer for Vocations
On this World Day of Prayer for Vocations, we remember in a special way all leaders called to serve our Church through ordination to the priesthood and deaconate, particularly the 2508 priests, 162 bishops, and many deacons we have been privileged to support through Catholic Leadership Institute’s (CLI) training and consulting programs!
CLI is fortunate to have a very unique group of these ordained leaders who we remember in prayer today: those who are not only called to a religious vocation, but also to a vocation to serve as a Leadership Consultant for CLI! Leadership Consultants are those individuals who deliver our world-class training and consulting programs around the world. We are particularly blessed to have ordained Church leaders as a part of our team.
Here is just one example of how amazing these unique CLI clergy consultants are…
Meet Fr. Lou Vallone from the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Fr. Lou, who celebrated the 44th anniversary of his ordination on Friday, is a phenomenal preacher (his homilies are passionate, informative, and uplifting), leader for our faith, inspiration to young Catholics, a Leadership Consultant for CLI, and an avid motorcyclist!
CLI is blessed to have Fr. Lou as part of our team, and most recently he reminded us of just how important ordained vocations are to our faith…
Recently in our CLI office, our staff participated in an exercise that challenged us to bring a religious object that has a special meaning for us and to share that meaning with our team of coworkers.
When it was Fr. Lou’s turn to share, he removed his clerical collar… and shared a story that we weren’t expecting!
Fr. Lou began by saying, of course, that this was his clergy collar, a sign of his vocation and priesthood, but it wasn’t your typical collar. It was a gift from his most recent 2nd grade class, who had just made their First Reconciliation. Fr. Lou described their excitement at receiving the sacrament, as well as their interest in his homily and the reading which he chose to focus on: Mark 9:2-13, the Transfiguration.
His message during that homily focused on the line:
"and then his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them."
Fr. Lou told his second graders, "When you receive your first penance, your sins will also be bleached away." This analogy resonated with the young students, so much so, that in thanksgiving, the children presented Fr. Lou with one of his most touching gifts…
… a priest collar made by the students that they cut from a bleach bottle!
What a special impression on the next generation of young Catholics! This is just one example of how Fr. Lou reaches those in his congregation and beyond; it is this spirit that will sustain our Church into the future.
This story makes us proud to support vocations and leaders like Fr. Lou through our work at CLI. We will pray devoutly today and every day for amazing, ordained leaders like Fr. Lou who are such an important part of living our history, inspiring our present, and building our future.
On behalf of CLI, thank you to all those who serve the Church in a religious vocation!