Lorelei Savaryn shares a tradition at her parish to pray for vocations inside the home.
We enrolled our kids in Catholic school this January and became members at the parish of the school shortly thereafter in order to best integrate our family and Church life. One of the very first Sundays we attended was family Sunday, where the homily is geared toward the children in the parish, who gather at the front to listen, and there are donuts and coffee after Mass. Besides the obvious sense of community this created, one other part of the service stood out.
Right before Mass finished, the priest called a family forward to receive the Elijah Cup. It’s a chalice inside of a wood and glass enclosure, and each month a new family takes the cup into their homes, places it in a prominent location, and prays special intentions for vocations for priests and religious men and women for the next four weeks.
The Elijah Cup has its origins in the Old Testament, in 1 Kings 17, when Elijah tells a widow to make some bread with the last of her flour and oil in the middle of a drought. He promises that if she does this, it will not run out. And sure enough, for the next year they ate bread from those same small ingredients. They had more than enough. In a world where we desperately need vocations, this is such a beautiful connection and promise that in cooperation with our faithfulness, there will be more than enough vocations to serve the Church here on earth.
I thought that this was such an amazing way to keep the focus and prayer for vocations alive in the Church and family life, but it was even more exciting when we received an email from the parish office asking our family to receive the Elijah Cup into our homes for the month of June.
We set it on our mantel, and it’s been wonderful to do the prayer for vocations with our children with the cup before us. We are praying privately, but we are also joining in with the prayers of our parish, and of the Church, for vocations too. We have brought this global intention into our home, but even though it is inside the walls of our house, it is part of something so much bigger.
This is, on a small scale, part of exactly what drew me to the Catholic Church six years ago. The idea that we individually, in our families, and in our parishes are a part of something so much bigger. We are the Body of Christ, living our individual vocations while working together as a team to be Christ’s Body on earth.
In July, we’ll return the Elijah Cup to our parish, and it will pass on to another family. We are one link in a much larger chain, and that’s one of the many things that makes the Catholic Church so very beautiful.
If your parish doesn’t yet have an Elijah Cup, it might be worth mentioning it and seeing if there is interest in getting started!
Copyright 2022 Lorelei Savaryn
Images: copyright 2022 Lorelei Savaryn, all rights reserved.
About the Author
Lorelei Savaryn joyfully joined the Catholic Church in 2016 after many years as a Protestant. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, four children, and dog named Saint. She writes about her faith and family life on ThisCatholicFamily.com. She is also a children's author. Her debut novel, The Circus of Stolen Dreams, released in Sept 2020 from Penguin Random House/Philomel.