Before this year's candidates for priesthood walk down the aisle of St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica, they will have been supported by parishioners and friends in prayer the night before.
Once again, the Office of Vocations, together with the Cathedral Basilica, will host an Ordination Prayer Vigil on May 10 inside the Cathedral. The celebration begins with Mass at 5:30p.m. with Adoration to follow from 6 p.m. to midnight. All are welcome to participate.
As per tradition, all of the seminarians in formation at both Serra House and St. Augustine's Seminary hold vigil for their fellow brothers who are to be ordained.
Since its inception in 2015, the objective of the vigil has been to keep prayer at the centre of the ordinations, despite the fact that it can sometimes be lost with practicalities.
The idea first came when Fr. Chris Lemieux, Director of Vocations, had the opportunity to travel to many different dioceses across the United States to see what was working and what was not so successful in vocation work.
"I visited many dioceses and formed relationships with the many Directors of Vocations," he said.
"In dioceses matching Toronto (in size, somewhat in diversity, structure and similar to evangelization models), it seems that prayer initiatives were what Vocation Directors attributed to forming the culture and eventually an increase in vocations to the priesthood, religious life and holy and healthy marriages."
Over the years, and through countless ordinations, the Ordination Prayer Vigil has served as an opportunity to continue the important work of deepening a culture of vocations throughout the Archdiocese.
"It is a traditional practice for soon-to-be priests on the eve (from the Vigil forward until their ordination next day) to be in cloister in prayer, praying the Penitential Psalms and fasting and meditating before their bishop ordains them to the priesthood."
Fr. Lemieux said that the Office of Vocations has plans to expand their prayer vigil to include other parishes in various regions of the Archdiocese.
"We hope that regional events in future will support the great work being done at the Cathedral Basilica."
Ordinations for the Archdiocese of Toronto will be celebrated on Saturday, May 11, 2019.