And this picture was the result.
Shown are (l-r) Seminarian Jose Diaz, who was in residence at our parish for the summer; parish administrator, Father Frank Passenant; newly ordained priest Father Robert Mema; pastor Bishop Paul Sanzhez; and some deacon. (Photo by Niranjan Fernando)
This was taken last Sunday, as part of my parish’s annual St. John Vianney novena for vocations. The novena concludes today, his feast day.
Matthew O’Connor from The Tablet, our diocesan newspaper, was there:
Our Lady Queen of Martyrs parish, Forest Hills, marked the feast of St. John Vianney with a novena from Thursday, July 27 to Friday, Aug. 4. The last day of the novena coincided with the opening of the diocesan Year of Vocations. This year, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs parish is calling on members to lend spiritual help and encouragement to young people considering religious vocations. As part of the novena observance, Father Robert Mema celebrated the 11:30 a.m. Mass and shared his faith and vocation story with the parish community on July 30. After Mass, he individually blessed those who waited for him in the parish garden. Father Mema was ordained to the priesthood on June 3, and is currently serving as parochial vicar at St. Kevin’s in Flushing. His path to priesthood came through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. After planning a career in law – he holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice – and working for two years as a personal banker, he entered Cathedral Seminary House of Formation, Douglaston. His connection to the church started when he was 18 and asked to be a godfather. He began to consider his faith. …Our Lady Queen of Martyrs pastor, Auxiliary Bishop Paul Sanchez, wished the young priest good luck and said that he is praying for him. “Father Mema’s words reminded me of Pope Francis. It is possible our sacrifices and prayers will help people in another part of the world that we may never meet,” the bishop said. “The touching thing about this novena is that there are many people who prayed for Father Mema as a seminarian, and now they have a chance to meet him. The grace of God is powerful in our prayers. As we pray for him, we know he will continue to pray for us as well.”
The novena’sconcluding prayer, for August 4:
O Holy Priest of Ars, your precious remains are contained in a magnificent reliquary, the donation from the priests of France. But this earthly glory is only a very pale image of the unspeakable glory which you are enjoying with God. During the time you were on earth, you used to repeat in your dejected hours, “one will rest in the other life.” It is done, you are in eternal peace, and eternal happiness. I desire to follow you one day. Until then, I hear you saying to me: “You should work and fight as long as you are in the world.” Teach me then to work for the salvation of my soul, to spread the good news and good example and to do good towards those around me in order that I will receive the happiness of the Elect with you. Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for … (mention silently your special intentions). Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
O St John Vianney, Patron of Priests, pray for us and for all priests!
Check out the video of the event below, from the diocesan cable channel, NET.