Dorothy Florack is worried that someday she might need a priest, and not be able to find one.
“I don’t think I could survive with an occasional priest or without daily Mass,” Florack said. “As far as I’m concerned, without the priesthood, we have nothing.”
In particular, she noted that priests celebrate two important sacraments for Catholics — consecrating the Eucharist and giving absolution in confessions — and that they are sacraments that no one else can celebrate. However, with the declining number of priests, Florack said she’s concerned that Catholics may have less and less access to these vital sacraments. So for the past three years, Florack has organized a group of Catholics to pray for men who are currently priests — as well as for more priestly vocations — every Sunday at 4 p.m. in St. Cecilia’s Church, 2732 Culver Road, Irondequoit.
Florack noted that she organized the services at the height of the clerical abuse scandals, and that she wanted to offer spiritual support to priests during a time of crisis. Attendance at the services has ranged from as high as 70 to as low as one, she said, noting her group is seeking more members and has about nine people who regularly attend. She is currently distributing a bulletin announcement to area parishes asking people to attend the weekly prayer service. The announcement states: “We talk about the need (for priests). We worry about it. Let’s do something about it.”
To increase interest in the weekly service, Florack is holding a special novena for nine consecutive Sundays starting May 1. The service generally lasts a little less than an hour, and consists of praying of the rosary as well as the Divine Mercy chaplet, a series of prayers using the rosary. The service also includes silent prayer, Florack said.
Father Kevin McKenna, pastor of St. Cecilia’s, said he has supported Florack’s weekly prayer service since its inception.
“I certainly thought it was a wonderful cause,” he said. “We certainly all are aware of the difficulties priests face these days, and we can certainly use all the prayers that we can get.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: To learn more about the weekly prayer for priestly vocations, call Dorothy Florack at 585/865-2594.