As the diocese’s associate director of vocations, Jalbert has taken the lead in a long-term campaign to persuade faithful parishioners to enter the seminary. Since January, he has been holding monthly services dubbed the Seventh Trumpet Mass, in which congregants are asked to pray for new vocations.
Prayer festival (MARK BOLTON)
The Rev. Jason Jalbert, right, offers communion to the faithful during the Seventh Trumpet Mass at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Manchester yesterday. (MARK BOLTON)
The name is derived from the Book of Revelations, which claims, "At the time when you hear the seventh angel blow his trumpet, the mysterious plan of God shall be fulfilled."
Yesterday’s service, tied to the celebration of the feast of Corpus Christi, was seen as an opportunity to "rekindle Eucharistic amazement" among the church faithful, Jalbert said.
"Forty years ago, when a city like Manchester was deeply Catholic, a majority of the people who were Catholic went to Mass," he said in an interview. "Parents encouraged their sons to become priests . . . We don’t live in those times anymore."
Diocesan officials have said they expect just 70 to 75 full-time priests will remain in parish ministry six years from now. The shortage has prompted an ongoing reconfiguration of parishes across the state. Already, several churches in Hillsborough and Cheshire counties have been closed. Many others have been merged.
"Let’s not be fooled," Jalbert told the congregants. "This is what the father of lies wants. He wants to work hard to extinguish our amazement . . .
What getting together to pray for vocations? What a novel approach instead of plotting out how to train pastoral assistants. Prayer for vocations, what a concept.