Chalice Program




Praying for vocations is a part of the culture of our council.  Here is a very brief backgrounder on its history and tradition. This started In March 2002.  One brother Knight accepted the chalice that Father Bernard Nienhaus had used for his ordination mass.  And, daily for a week, he and his family prayed for vocations before dinner.  He then asked a brother knight to do the same thing at his home the following week.




In 2002, our Council  made the commitment to pray for religious vocations and, the idea of circulating a vocation chalice among brothers was born at a monthly meeting. The ordination chalice of Fr. Nienhaus is loaned on indefinite basis to our Council by Judy Sturm, wife of Sir Knight Lee Sturm.  With pride, we claim the chalice has been in continuous circulation, without interruption, ever since!


Fr. Nienhaus was a St. Louis diocesan priest for 38 years - serving as a chaplain, a psychologist for seminarians, and as a parish priest. He had a giant intellect. He received a degree in theology from Catholic University and a PhD in psychology from University of Wisconsin. Fr. Bernard had a special gift for learning languages. He was fluent in Latin, Spanish, Italian, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Russian, and English!  One day he decided to read the bible in its original text.  He taught himself Hebrew from library books, and then read a bible printed in Hebrew. Years later he decided to travel to Russia.  Again, using books from a library, he taught himself Russian before making a trip to Moscow.


His retirement goal was to be a missionary in Mexico working with the poor and underprivileged. Unfortunately, this did not happen because he died in a Barcelona Airport on his way to Turkey. Empathy for others and self-reliance are two basic characteristics of all good priests.  We are so fortunate to have his chalice for our praying for vocations program.




Today, and for the past 12 years, brothers volunteer to participate at council meetings; brothers check the schedule before arranging to exchange the chalice.  If the exchange can take place in conjunction with a Sunday mass, we hope more parishioners are  encouraged to pray for vocations. Our brother Bill Cotter  manages and maintains the schedule online on our council website.  When someone volunteers for an unassigned week, Bill records the information on the calendar.  Others wanting to volunteer then check the calendar for available weeks before contacting Bill Cotter.  Contact Bill Cotter to confirm an assigned week.  Bill will then enter your name & phone number on our program calendar. 


Step #1 is scheduling; after contacting Bill, you’ve finished Step 1. 


Step #2 is chalice exchange. The brother who has the chalice the week before you, should contact you so together you can decide when and where the exchange happens.  Once you have received the chalice, you need to learn who receives it from you and, you must contact him.  Most exchanges happen on Saturday or Sunday.  Sometimes, it’s necessary to exchange on a Friday or Monday.  Today, most exchanges are not at a mass.  Talk with fellow knights to discover the variety of ways to exchange.




Once you have the chalice in your home and pray for vocations, you will better understand how the program operates and, more importantly, how good you feel about participating!

Vocation Prayer:

Priest: Let us ask God to give many priests, brothers and sisters to His Holy Church. All: Oh God, we earnestly beseech You to bless this diocese with many priests, brothers and sisters who will love You with their whole strength and gladly spend their entire lives to serve Your Church and to make You known and loved. Priest: Bless our families, bless our children. All: Choose from our homes those who are needed for Your work. Priest: Mary Queen for the Clergy to Queen of the Clergy. All: Pray for us. Pray for our priests and religious. This we ask through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

To participate please call or email Bill Cotter
.  Bill Cotter contact data:      or  843-342-7209.  


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