Traveling Chalice / Crucifix

Aided by the visual reminder of a chalice or crucifix, a family or individual prays for vocations for a week. Many times this effort turns into a great reflection on one’s own vocation.

Serra Participation

  • Serra clubs can secure chalice and kit.
  • Serrans may coordinate the Schedule for families to take the kit.
  • Serrans can remind the next family that it’s their turn to take the chalice and memory book.
  • For young children, a coloring book that has images of the priest during Mass, the monstrance and other images that allow them to start to understand the greatness and importance of the Eucharist is available on the website to download. This will be a treasure of the that faith they can retain as they grow up.

Summary

Aided by the constant visual reminder of a prominently placed chalice or crucifix, a family or individual prays for vocations for a week and writes down their personal experiences in prayer. Many times this effort turns into a great reflection on one’s own vocation.

Program Outline

The Traveling Chalice Program is a simple, effective way to get parishioners directly involved in supporting vocations.  (It should be noted that the program can also be done using a crucifix; we shall refer to a chalice here for the purposes of explaining how the program is implemented.)

On Sunday, an individual—or a couple or family—takes the chalice. This can be done in different ways. The priest can present the chalice at the end of Mass, or the chalice can be picked up in the sacristy after Mass. The recipient(s) then takes the chalice home, puts it in a prominent place in the home, and prays every day for vocations during the week. Those participating utilize a ‘memory book’ to write down their experiences for the week, as well as the prayers that come about as a result; the book then becomes a source of inspiration for subsequent recipients and the parish vocation team.

Recipients should be reminded to return the chalice to the parish on the Friday or Saturday following pick-up; or they may return it before the Mass on Sunday. Succeeding recipients should be prompted as to when their turn is coming.

All Year

Lead Time 4-6 months

f

Medium Effort

Low Cost

Program History, Development, and Additional Resources

A vocations-promotion endeavor that’s been popular for years within parishes around the country, the Traveling Chalice or Crucifix Program is a simple, effective way to get parishioners directly involved in supporting the vocations effort. It is also a great way to encourage families to pray together at home.

It may represent the first time the topic of vocations has been explored by the recipient(s), and be an important week for the recipient(s). It presents a good opportunity to invite family and friends to join in sharing and prayer.

A given week’s recipient should be reminded to return the chalice to the parish on the Friday following pick-up—or to simply bring it to the sacristy before the scheduled Mass on Sunday. The succeeding recipient should be prompted as to when their turn is coming.

Establishing a Traveling Chalice Program in your parish is a straightforward matter. First, obtain the support of the pastor and select a leader to administer the program. Second, purchase a chalice or obtain a chalice from the parish. Third, purchase a memory book and vocation prayers—and, if appropriate, a child’s Mass kit for families with young children.

An enthusiastic invitation by the pastor is the best way to get parishioners started with the program. The program leader needs to encourage all parishioners to welcome the chalice into their homes.  Sign-up cards can be placed in the pews and in the church vestibule or passed out on donut Sunday. Where there is a school, an invitation can be sent home with students.  Frequent articles in the church bulletin, a post on the parish website, and a listing in the bulletin of the names of those taking the chalice over the next four weeks are all good steps to keep the program moving forward.

The following is from a speech by Bob Barrett during the induction of new members for the Detroit-Northeast Serra Club:

“One way the Serrans evangelize is through programs designed to build a culture of vocations in parishes and schools, Barrett said. When he served as governor, Barrett created the Five Star program, an active guide for promoting vocational awareness, which includes a traveling chalice and traveling crucifix program, materials for parish bulletins, and the 31 Club, which promotes prayer for vocations, the celebration of religious and priestly vocations, and holy hours.

“If I can get a parish doing (the program), then we got something,” Barrett added.

The idea behind the traveling crucifix and chalice, which are taken home by members of the parish or school, is to encourage families to pray together for a culture of vocations, Barrett said.

“We’ve gotta build up courage and make it cool to be a priest or a nun,” Barrett said. “These young kids are impressed by seeing that chalice go up the aisle and go into a person’s home for a week to pray and talk about vocations. If we can make it exciting to be a priest to be a nun, that is our job.

“We are trying to make it a blessed thing to be a priest, so it’s no big surprise when someone asks, ‘How did you get into the priesthood?’ The answer can be, ‘My parish talked about it,’” Barrett added.”

Reference Materials

Resources

From Vianney Vocations:  Traveling Vocation Crucifix Kit.  The kit contains everything you need to start a Vocations Crucifix program for either your parish or school.
Traveling Vocation Crucifix Kit

Article from the Madison Catholic Herald (WI) which details how a group of retirees started a Traveling Chalice Program in their retirement community:
Madison Catholic Herald (WI)

Web page of Archdiocese of St. Louis (MO) with an invitation from the archdiocese to invite parishes to participate in the Traveling Chalice Program:
Archdiocese of St. Louis (MO)

Serra SPARK Helpers©

Traveling Chalice / Crucifix Program – English/Spanish Translation
Traveling Chalice / Crucifix Program – English/Spanish Translation [pdf]

Traveling Chalice / Crucifix Program – Suggested Daily Vocation Prayers
Traveling Chalice / Crucifix Program – Suggested Daily Vocation Prayers [pdf]

Sample Announcements for Bulletin and Website Announcements that can be adapted to your parish circumstances.
Sample Announcements for Bulletin and Website [pdf]

Online registration form for the Traveling Chalice Program at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church (Buffalo, NY); this is a good example of a simple, easy-to-use, online registration form for the program—which would be linked to from the parish’s website:
Traveling Chalice Program at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church (Buffalo, NY)

Printable “Annunciation” Prayer Card from Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
Download “Annunication” Prayer Card [pdf]

Printable “Feed My Sheep” Prayer Card from Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
Feed My Sheep Prayer Card [pdf]

“The fostering of vocations cannot be
considered a marginal activity, but must
be incorporated fully into the life and
activity of the community.”

Pope St. John Paul II