BLESSED JUSTIN AND THE VOCATIONIST FATHERS
Father Justin Russolillo was born on January 18, 1891 and baptized in Pianura (Naples) on the next day. After completing Grammar School in his home town, he entered the Seminary of Pozzuoli, where he distinguished himself for intelligence, humility and piety. Bishop Zezza and Marquis Zampaglione were glad to pay the Seminary tuition for such a brilliant and pious Seminarian.
On September 20, 1913, Justin was ordained a Priest. While kneeling before the Bishop for the ordination, he vowed to the Lord to find a religious Congregation to cultivate vocations to faith, priesthood and holiness.
As a Priest, he intensified the work that he had already begun as a Seminary student. When he was appointed Pastor of Pianura on September 20, 1920, he soon started working for the realization of his mission.
On October 18 of the same year, the first community of Vocationist Fathers came into being at the Rectory of St. George's Parish. One year later the Vocationist Sisters Community was formed with the same aims and goals of the Fathers.
The Vocationist Fathers and Sisters rapidly spread throughout Italy, France, Brazil, Argentina and U.S.A. and lately, they reached Nigeria, India, Philippines, Madagascar, Columbia, Ecuador and the United Kingdom.
Wherever they went, their main goal was the search and cultivation of vocations, especially among the poor and the underprivileged. The Blessed Trinity, the Holy Family and the Mother Church were the source and center of his spirituality and of his multiple ministries.
The two religious congregations of the Vocationist Fathers and Sisters became congregation of Pontifical Right respectively on January 3, 1948 and on May 24, 1947. Fr. Justin completed his earthly mission on August 2, 1955, comforted by the Sacraments of the Church. Said petition was readily granted on April 3, 1978, and on December 18, 1997 Pope John Paul the Second officially declared that Fr. Justin had practiced the Christian Virtues in a heroic manner and therefore he was being raised to the dignity of VENERABLE, and now on May 7th, 2011 Fr. Justin was raised again to the honor of BLESSED by His Holiness Benedict XVI.
The Society of Divine Vocations is a religious congregation founded by Blessed Fr. Justin Maria Russolillo, S.D.V., in Pianura, Naples – Italy in 1920. We are also known as the VOCATIONIST FATHERS. Blessed Fr. Justin also founded the Vocationist Sisters and Apostles of Universal Sanctification. Our ministry is carried out in parishes, schools, missions and their main field of apostolate – “The Vocationary” – a place for vocational discernment and religious formation. Blessed Father Justin said, “A Vocationary is a religious house where, in a spirit of prayer and study, we educate and guide – free of charge – candidates who wish to dedicate themselves to a life of service to the Lord, but who are not oriented yet towards diocesan priesthood or religious congregations.”
Be truly holy because the rest is zero! - Fr. Justin
THE VOCATIONIST COOPERATORS IN THE UK
The group of Vocationist Co-operators was established in St Winefride’s Parish on the eve of the First Profession of the now Frs Benedetto and Roberto, one year after the arrival of the Vocationists in the same Parish (2009). From that moment onwards, the group has never failed to help and support the Vocationist seminarians who passed through Holywell.
When the second community in the UK was established, in Walsall, people there also felt called to help and support vocations, especially those who were living on British soil. Both groups have continued worked to work tirelessly to help and support vocations to priesthood and religious life through prayer, sacrifice and offerings.
Vocations, a gift from God
Every vocation is a gift from God. It is something that each person receives, although everyone is called to do God’s will in different ways. Following God more closely and more radically takes great strength and courage, hence the need for us to constantly pray for all those who have been called to priesthood and religious life, so that the Church may always be fruitful and may continue to grow. This is why a group like the Vocationist Co-operators is of great inspiration to many people. They help and support vocations in many ways, but three of these ways are the most essential:
Prayer: Without prayers a vocation will never grow; like all seeds, it needs water to grow. Personal and group
prayer is essential, and it is the most important way in which one helps a vocation. The Co-operators make themselves available to join together in praying for vocations, and for perseverance in our vocations, during Mass and Adoration every Friday. Thanks for joining in prayers.
Sacrifice: A sacrifice, however small, is always welcomed by God. Sacrificing oneself may be of benefit to someone
Offering: This is offering financial help towards the formation of Vocationist religious, during their training to
At the service of Vocations
By March 2016 the Vocationist Co-operators helped the Vocationist Congregation by supporting at least eleven men called to religious life and priesthood, never failing to provide the Vocationists with the necessary help. Through a variety of events, the Co-operators have made contributions and raised funds to provide the necessary education for the Vocationist seminarians. Whilst six rothers have already completed their studies, a further two brothers are currently undergoing their training at St Mary’s College, Oscott, in Birmingham.
The hard work of the people within the Vocationist Co-operators has paid off as, in the past two years, there have been five ordinations of young men who were supported by the Co-operators.
Both the Church and the Vocationist Congregation will always be grateful to the people who, thanks to their generosity in many ways, have helped these young men to fulfil their vocations.
Can I join with you? Yes! Please contact one of our members. We will be delighted to welcome you to join us in prayers for vocations. Let us start here!
Prayer for vocations
Divine Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father and Mary Immaculate, grant us and all the faithful true generosity in following your call, and bestow on us the grace of your Holy Spirit to persevere in overcoming all obstacles to our vocations. Give the Church in our Diocese, and throughout the world, many holy priests, fervent religious and committed lay people. Through the intercession of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, all the Angels, Blessed Justin and all Saints, we humbly ask you to hear our prayers and multiply the ministries by which we may serve You and one another in faith and love. Amen.