Vocations Office begins Memorare Prayer campaign
By Father Mark McCormick
The last year or so, when I would visit with our seminarians Max Vetch and Dillon Johnson, they would say to me, “Remember Fr. Mark, we want 20 seminarians by 2025.” And I would always respond, “Yes, of course, it would be great to have 20 seminarians by 2025.” Under my breath, I would say things like this, “Yes, Lord that would be amazing, don’t you think? To have 20 seminarians by 2025 would be incredible, wouldn’t it Lord? The Diocese of Rapid City is so small, and we are still a mission diocese, 20 seminarians by 2025, is that even possible? What do you think Lord?” I would end my conversation with myself with, “Come Holy Spirit, come now, come as you wish, come as you may.”
This past February I was visiting Max Vetch, who will be starting his third year of theology or the configuration stage this fall at the North American College in Rome. We were in the refectory for lunch, sitting with two other seminarians and our conversation turned to how many seminarians do we have in our diocese? Being a little prideful, I said we have 11 seminarians and then added that’s not too bad for being a mission diocese and the second smallest diocese in the United States with a Catholic population of only 21,329. Max, without missing a beat, added, “We will have 20 seminarians by 2025 — right Fr. Mark?” I said, “Yes, Max, that is right!” With a smile, I added, “With 20 seminarians our seminarian poster will have to be laid out vertically instead of horizontally because there will be so many of them. Now wouldn’t that be something — 20 seminarians by 2025!”
The next day as I walked the city of Rome and visited the different churches, my heart was brought back to the conversation at the refectory dining table the day before, 20 seminarians by 2025. “Lord, is this even possible?” I asked. As I continued to walk the city of Rome that day, pondering the thought, it occurred to me that only three people even know about 20 seminarians by 2025 and that is Max, Dillon, and me. And then I thought, “Well, four with Jesus.”
It was in this Holy Spirit moment that I decided that more people need to know about 20 seminarians by 2025, so that they can begin to pray too. I remembered Tony Brandt and Chris Stewart from Casting Nets Ministry and their powerful witness of the Memorare Prayer, and how they inspired us to ask people across the Diocese to pray 10,000 Memorares and beg Mary’s intercession to inspire people to come to one of our Summit Conferences. They called it, “Operation 525” because the chapel at Terra Sancta holds 525 people. Thanks to Mary’s intercession, we filled the chapel in both 2018 and in 2019.
I recalled several articles on Stephen Minnis, the President of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and their Memorare Prayer campaigns, to increase their student enrollment and build a grotto on campus. President Minnis was inspired by St. Teresa of Calcutta and the faith and trust she had in the power of Mary’s intercession and the Memorare Prayer. The title of one of the articles, “Committed to Memorare: Mary’s Prayer Packs Grace-Filled Power,” highlights the story of St. Teresa of Calcutta’s love for and the power of the Memorare Prayer for her and the Missionaries of Charity. Father Kolodiejchuk, postulator for Mother Teresa’s sainthood cause, said Mother Teresa would often say the Memorare “is the most beautiful prayer.” Father Kolodiejchuk shares this story of Mother Teresa’s: “When we wanted to get a motherhouse, I promised Our Lady 85,000 Memorares. We were just very few sisters, and how to say so many Memorares? So, we gathered all our poor children and all the people and taught them to say the Memorare — and soon we got this house.” An amazing story of faith and power of our Mother Mary’s intercession.
I personally wanted to invite you, your parishes, your families, your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers and even your acquaintances to join me and our seminarians in this Memorare Campaign, “20 seminarians by 2025.” Help us to pray 500,000 Memorares, by Pentecost Sunday June 8, 2025, for God to bless our diocese with 20 seminarians actively discerning God’s call for their lives.
The Office of Vocations has printed Memorares cards to help you track the number of Memorare prayers. We have plenty so you can pass them all to your family, friends, your neighbors and invite them to join our memorare campaign. Download the card below and start your journey!