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Chancery to hold prayer movement challenge

By RENEE WEBB, Globe senior reporter
(Email Renee)

Chancery employees will have a chance to participate in a prayer and movement challenge this Lent.

According to Anne Kirby, a member of the wellness committee at Central Catholic Offices, the challenge is titled, “Brick by Brick, Prayer by Prayer,” and the hope is to build up the church through prayer for vocations to the diocesan priesthood.

Those who participate in the challenge will receive an e-mail every three days with the name of one of the diocesan seminarians, along with a request to pray for him.

As people pray for the seminarians, Kirby said she hopes they “hold up their needs in prayer and offer support for the men who are on the spiritual journey to priesthood.”

“What this boils down to is that so often we only focus on our physical health and our physical health is directly connected to our emotional and spiritual sides,” said Kirby.

Past challenges at the chancery focused on physical activity such as walking and it had been suggested to incorporate spiritual aspects into future challenges.

Margaret Fuentes, diocesan director of human resources and diocesan contact person for the wellness initiative, said having people within the building who have a passion for this is what makes it work.

This is one of several programs various diocesan entities have undertaken as part of the wellness program.

“We could spin out programs all day long, but if the people that we are creating the programs for don’t have an interest level, they will not go anywhere. They will be a hollow effort,” Fuentes noted. “A lot of care and thought have gone into all of the programs we have done, but especially this one because it closely ties together a positive Lenten activity and something that promotes priestly vocations.”

While the wellness committee at the chancery wanted movement to be part of this challenge, Kirby said they decided to be open about what type of movements could be incorporated. For instance, movement could be vacuuming, washing dishes or walking the dogs as well as traditional exercises.

“We wanted to broaden the participation level and when you talk about movement, people immediately think of hard exercise,” she said. “But we wanted people to realize it is healthy just to move more and this is especially true for those who spend our days at desks.”

Kirby said these efforts will be recorded in a visual reminder that they are building up the church. For each 15 minutes spent in moving prayer, participants will be asked to fill in a brick on a drawing of a church that will be on display in the chancery lobby.

“Our previous challenges were recorded on-line and they were individualized,” she said. “With this, you will just have to walk through the lobby to see we are working together to build up the church.”

So far, 27 chancery employees have signed up for the challenge.

Each week, Kirby added, they plan to organize a rosary walk. Even employees who didn’t sign up for the challenge will be welcome to participate.

Time-wise, Kirby noted, the Lenten season seemed to fit well for the next challenge.

“We had finished our fall challenges, the holidays were over and people seemed to like six-week periods of times for challenges.” She said, “We wanted to end it at Easter.”

As they set up the prayer schedule, Kirby said they decided it was important to pray for Deacon Frank Lona over the Easter vigil. Lona is a transitional deacon who will be ordained to the priesthood this summer.

Father Brad Pelzel, director of vocations, called the challenge a terrific idea. He described it as heartwarming and reassuring.

“I know that everyone here supports vocations, my efforts and the seminarians but it is nice to see the tangible ways it manifests itself – this being just the most recent in a long line of ways diocesan personnel show their support for our guys,” he said.

Father Pelzel said he believes people underestimate how much their prayers help and the value of the men being lifted up in prayer daily.

“We will mail each of the seminarians a card from everyone to let them know we are praying for them,” Kirby said. “There is an enrichment that comes from knowing you have supported someone in the seminary. You know you are doing something to encourage vocations.”

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