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Beloved priest’s chalice inspires parish vocations

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June 8, 2012

By Eileen Connelly, OSU


When James Romanello participated in his first Mass as a transitional deacon at Holy Trinity Parish in Norwood on April 29, it was a reminder of his own call to the priesthood, as well a way to honor a beloved late priest’s vocation and example of faith.

During the Mass, a chalice belonging to Father Edward Haskamp, a diocesan priest who faithfully served the local church for 53 years, was used. That chalice, given to Father Haskamp by his family upon his ordination in 1950, has become a source of vocations in the parish, says Father Ray Kellerman pastor, through a program coordinated by the Norwood Knights of Columbus, established in 2005. Each week, individuals, couples or families from the parish take the chalice, bequeathed to Holy Trinity by Father Haskamp upon his death, home to pray for vocations.


“He was just a really great guy,” Father Kellerman recalled of the priest, who retired from his administrative responsibilities in 1994. Father Haskamp so loved being a priest that he couldn’t stop what he had been doing for most of his life. So, explained Father Kellerman, he assumed the position of retired associate pastor of Holy Trinity, ministering to the people of the faith community until his death in 2003.


“Father Haskamp was a wonderful, faith-filled man, very personable and great to be around,” Deacon Romanello said. “Using his chalice to pray for vocations is a way to honor his vocation and all he did for the parish.”


Parishioners are asked to sign up to take the chalice into their homes for a week at time and put the chalice in a place of honor where it will be visible while in their household. An outline for suggested prayer during the week featuring a variety related prayers, scriptural passages and intercessions is included, although parishioners are also encouraged to pray in any way they are comfortable. Some use the chalice as a focus for their morning or evening prayer, Father Kellerman said, while others use the prayers at mealtime.


“One elderly gentleman told me he placed the chalice on his mantelpiece and would look at when he prayed and think of all the Masses when it was used and all the lives that were touched,” Father Kellerman said.


Parishioner Joanne Krekeler, who took the chalice home for the first time in May to pray for vocations said, “I prayed that people would learn more about their call and what God’s will is for them.


Father Kellerman stressed the importance of praying for vocations, saying, “They don’t just drop out of the sky. Vocations are nurtured within families and faith communities and sometimes it takes prodding people or saying, ‘Have you ever considered it? You would be a good priest, brother or Sister. People need that encouragement, support, and most of all prayers.”


Deacon Romanello, who will be ordained to the priesthood next year, noted that the prayer program includes not only praying for vocations to the priesthood and religious life, but to all ministries within the church. He said his vocation has definitely been nurtured through the prayers of Holy Trinity parishioners. “It was wonderful using Father Haskamp’s chalice at Mass,” he said. “It meant everything because the prayers were so much a part of my vocation and the chalice is a great sign to others of how much we need to continue to pray for vocations.”


The prayer program has also “born much fruit,” he said, yielding other vocations from the parish: Chris Conlon, who is preparing for the priesthood at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West; Colin King, a second year-temporary professed friar with the Franciscans of the St. John the Baptist Province; and Henry Jacquez and William Staun, who will be ordained to the permanent diaconate in April 2013.

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