Declining Vocations to the Priesthood

On Sunday, our bishop said there are zero vocations to the priesthood in our Diocese of Nelson.

When I talked to our priest about it later, I suggested this may be because our diocese has been a liberal one for so long. The priest agreed, and said he just had that very discussion with the bishop.

Our priest then said something that I have heard here many times: The parishes which are traditional have flourishing numbers of vocations to the priesthood. :yup:

I wonder if anyone is able to supply references for this situation? Opinions are great, too! :slight_smile:

To start off with, I think having girl altar servers is a factor in the declining numbers of seminarians.

Yep, I have to agree with the influence of altar girls… in most cases.

But as Fr Corapi has said… if a parish has no vocations to the priesthood… there is something wrong with the priest.!!!

Remember when Michael Jordan was the big guy on campus… so many young men (not women) wanted to “be like Mike”.

The same should be true for the priesthood. I believe that if young men REALLY knew what it is that a priest can do… we would have too many priests.

Our bishop is, IMHO, too anxious to retire to pursue vocations. We had zero ordinations this year and his response was to ask the priests to cancel Mass and confessions for Saturday morning, and come pray in the Cathedral. Thankfully we have a very active, zealous, and sincere vocations director. And he has 12 new men entering the seminary this month. Praise God.

With all the grief that a good pastor gets from his bishop when he tries to do the right thing, it is no wonder that men are hesitant to wear the collar… case in point… a local parish declared the requirements for confirmation… candidates must either work in a nursing home for 10 or so hours, pray at an abortion mill, work with Habitat for Humanity … and some parents complained to the bishop… Yep, the bishop’s office told the pastor to lighten up and don’t be so strict.

I think in our diocese its been a few years since we had a single priestly vocation. We did have 3 deaconate ones though!

I know someone myself that thought they perhaps might have considered the priesthood at some point if the faith they had at 27 they had at 17. At 17 they didn’t even go to church.

Perhaps that is where the problem lies, our young men do not have the faith in the teenage years of years past

Very true.

I am currently discerning my vocation, towards traditional orders like the FSSP. I hope to enter the Seminary in a few years.

The situation is the same in my Diocese paramedic, there is currently only 1 seminarian for the whole diocese and only a handful of ordinations in the last 5 years, the diocese is huge, covering an area of 13,074 km². The diocese is also quite liberal, and from what i have gathered thier seminary formation is not something to be desired, and most of all, liberal seminaries are dangerous places for traditionaly minded seminarians…

Just some of the reasons i have been ‘put off’ the Diocean priesthood. If you look at my first blog entry, i give a link to a brilliant article written by an orthodox/traditional priest which highlights my concerns.

To start off with, I think having girl altar servers is a factor in the declining numbers of seminarians.

I agree, what messege does it send to young boys? and most of all young girls? We wonder why approximately 1/3 of the Church is convinced that allowing women clergy is the correct way to go? It couldn’t possibly be the fact they recieve mixed messages from the sanctuary week after week. On this issue, quite simply, the Church surcomed and buckled to the modernist feminist agendas of certain progressivist liberals in the Church, and all it has done, is damaged male vocations.

It started this way in the Anglican Church, it is a slippery slope situation. They started in the 70’s only with the ‘ordination’ of ‘Deaconesses’ - intending for it to only go that far. One only needs to look at thier situation today. There is a reason Modernism is heretical…

I too am discerning a vocation to the Priesthood and am investigating the charism to offer Sacraments in the Traditional Rite. My first ‘live’ experience of the TLM would be this coming October. Previously I have only watched videos of it on my computer. Its likely that I’ll be meeting up with the FSSP Priest while he is around.

I know of 3 other people from my diocese discerning a vocation to the FSSP. There already is 1 seminarian who just went to Our Lady or Gudalupe Seminary after finishing his initiation year.

At the Diocesan level, the situation is pretty dire. There are only 4 local seminarians and not a single one of them is doing theology yet. Listening to one of the more recently ordained Priests, I am just left totally uninspired by what the Diocese has to offer.

A priest once said to me that smaller family size is also a factor in the decrease in vocations. If you have only one son, you are less likely to encourage a priestly vocation. I find this in our own family. My Hubby has some deal about continuing the family name. We have four daughters but only one son, and I think, though he would be very proud to have a son as a priest, hubby is not going to go out of his way to encourage it.

I once had a bishop who’s been very successful in recruiting and ordaining men for his diocese day, “A diocese gets the vocations it deserves.”

There’s a lot in that statement, but it boils down to what many of you have said - a diocese has to want vocations (i.e. make it a priority), they have to work hard to find them, they have to “think with the Church,” implement the kinds of programs that are going to elicit a generous response from you (or not so young) men, and strongly support those vocations along the way.

It seems from what I’ve seen that those dioceses and religious communities that are doing these and other things are having success with priestly vocations.

God bless.


That’s also what Father McNamara says here, when asked about how female altar servers are affecting the Church.

…It is also true that groups of boy servers have fostered vocations to the priesthood. But to be fair, this usually happens within a broader culture of openness to a vocation in which other elements come into play, such as the example and spiritual guidance given by good priests, and family support.

If, for example, a long-established program of boy servers has proved successful in promoting vocations or has been useful in helping boys avoid bad company and maintain the state of grace, then the good of souls obliges pastors to weigh heavily the spiritual risks involved in abandoning it…

Among the many factors that contribute to a decrease in seminarians, is the decrease in Catholic education.

A lot less schools than 50 years ago, in 1951 Pittsburgh there were 111 Catholic schools, today less 20.

If children saw priests and nuns all day every day in school, they’d be more likely to emulate them.

Seems like across the country the more traditional dioceses have vocations. Is it time to “get back to the basics”?
I live in a very populous diocese, with a bishop and two auxilieries, where we are sometimes lucky to have 3 or 4 ordinations a year, while our active priests are ageing at a much more rapid rate. I wonder if encouraging Altar BOYs might help…there is zero chance that the 200-pound altargirl in jeans and tennis shoes in our parish will ever be a priest!
Cutting back on availability of the Sacraments (including the “minor” Sacrament of Reconciliation–our pastor’s words) is certainly not the answer.
We do seem to be gaining more permanent deacons. Our parish has an outstanding deacon–we even “loan” him to neighboring parishes–who was a seminarian in his youth, before Vatican 2 .

I too am discerning a vocation to a traditional order like the FSSP. I want nothing to do with my liberal Diocese.

I read this short discussion by an Archbishop that was posted on ewtn. It was really good, he talked about how many liberals propagate this theory of “declining vocations” so that they can promote their own anti-Catholic agendas (ie. women priests).

Let me see if I can find that…

Yes, here it is…

And a quick quote…

I personally think the vocation “crisis” in this country is more artificial and contrived than many people realized.

When this formula, based on total fidelity to Church teaching, is followed in dioceses and religious communities, then vocations will increase. Present statistics support this premise.

Hmm…my own diocese has very seriously embarked on a whole program to actively call men to discern a vocation to the priesthood and now hold diocesean level days of prayer for vocations. Unfortunately, I am disappointed by the ‘products’ of our own seminary. So its the Priests who come from the Seminary itself that play an extremely important role.

Another factor to consider is that they are turning away many young good men in developing countries, because there is no room in the crowded seminaries. Vocations have always thrived in poor countries. The materialistic society that we live in does not have time for religion.

Maybe we should make an effort to recruit those young men and bring them here.

The Order whose seminary I have entered has two seminarians. Of course, in this province they only have three churches, so its not too bad :slight_smile:

They are much more conservative than the Diocese but not quite to the Fraternity of St. Peter level. :thumbsup:

I have been off for a while. I have been doing a lot of prayer and a lot of reflecting. I agree totally with two things one the more liberal the diocese is the less vocations to that diocese. The more proactive a diocese is and the more conservative they are the more vocations will be sent to them.
I am still in the Souix Falls Diocese and finaly God gave them a long awaited bishop!! praise God!! I am waiting to see how proactive and less prejudiced they become. This Diocese is prejudiced against non college grads.
Tennessee is having a bonanza of vocations and I am going to meet with the bishop on the 8th. The reason for the great success is the bishop. The bishop can make a diocese heaven on earth. or Hell on earth. Pray for good bishops!!! and the best vocations director I ever met was not a priest but a lay person. God Bless Scoob.

They might be seeing priests and nuns at school, but these days, they’re largely indistinguishable from laypeople. Nothing sets them apart anymore, and kids have little reason anymore to think there’s anything special about them. If priests would resume their clerical garb and nuns would go back to the habit, that might be a step in the right direction.

They might be seeing priests and nuns at school, but these days, they’re largely indistinguishable from laypeople. Nothing sets them apart anymore, and kids have little reason anymore to think there’s anything special about them. If priests would resume their clerical garb and nuns would go back to the habit, that might be a step in the right direction.QUOTE

YES God I wish that would happen!! I mean I saw a nun that was cute and was thinking darn she is hot. Then I was introduced “Hi this is Sister Kate” YES I think it is time for them to go back to the habit!!! I was so ashamed.

Bring back habits, and while they’re at it, turn the altar back the right way.

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