In the book Hundredfold: A Guide to Parish Vocation Ministry, Mrs. Rhonda Gruenwald has filled a significant need in providing a detailed account of how parishes can develop a vocation ministry. This term is only recently becoming more common in pastoral settings, and indeed many parishes do not have a defined vocation ministry.
The need for such practical guidance as Mrs. Gruenewald gives is all the more acute as our society continues its meteoric moral decline and increasingly fails to make appropriate gender distinctions, culminating in the recent scandal and in biblical parlance abomination of legalized homosexual marriages.
As the Church teaches, marriage is between a man and a woman. The Church offers support to persons with homosexual tendencies, and rejects all forms of hateful discrimination. However, this does not entail passivity in the face of the moral plague that homosexual marriage constitutes. The Bible is clear and consistent in its condemnation of homosexuality, and although many biblical commentators soften this by referring to cultural conditions and mores in place at the time, the Tradition overwhelmingly supports the biblical position.
Homosexual couples are increasingly being presented in the culture as acceptable, and even the norm, and those who protest this are often viewed and treated as reactionary pariahs. What message about heterosexual love does this send to children? How are children of homosexual couples going to have a healthy image of heterosexual marriage? These are questions that have not been taken seriously enough, and unless the Church provides additional guidance at the parish level further confusion is going to result.
Mrs. Gruenewald’s book is invaluable for providing a thorough framework in which vocational formation can take place. The book is full of practical tips for almost every aspect of this ministry. At over 200 pages, the book is almost encyclopedic in its thoroughness. The compartmentalized table of contents and book layout prevents it from being overwhelming.
As I went through the book, I thought to myself that such a work could only have been written by a woman. In general, women are far superior to men in organizing pastoral activities, and their attention and sensitivity to detail and nuance is commendable. Mrs. Gruenewald has done her homework and expressed in clear guidelines how to develop and further a parish’s vocation ministry. The book’s table of contents enables easy access to topics of interest, so that you can address your practical concerns immediately.
Hundredfold is published by Vianney Vocations and retails for $17.00. Mrs. Gruenewald’s website is vocationministry.com, and her email address is Rhonda@vocationministry.com.