How do they recruit Priests (if they do) in your Diocese


How do they recruit for Priests in your Diocese?

I’ve seen a number of approaches over the years, some of which are apparently more successful than others, I wonder how they do this from area ot area.

This come up for a number of reasons, but I’m really curious.

Also, any suggestions for how to do this more effectively (I’ll toss in one if nobody else mentions it)?


In some of our parishes, we offer a Vocations Prayer Chalice.
Families sign up to take the chalice home for a week and pray for vocations.
sometimes these also circulate through classrooms in Catholic schools, again on a weekly basis.
The concept of vocation in taught in the classroom, along with a description of the three vocations: the religious life, marriage and the single life. children are encouraged to explore these vocations and to recognize that all lead to special ways of loving God and each other.
Altar service can also be an introductions to the vocation of the priesthood.
In one parish, father encourages children to think about becoming priests during Mass.
In another, father encourages us to pray for vocations.
In one parish, a vocations prayer card was recently provided after Mass and those assisting at mass were encouraged to say the prayer each Wednesday.

May God bless all of our priests and our future priests.


In my diocese the vocations director visits various parishes throughout the diocese and gives Sunday homilies about vocations. There are lots of prayer cards for vocations floating around, I’ve seen them at different parishes. A few young priests in the area (and probably other priests as well, but definitely the young priests) host free dinners at a local rectory once a month for those interested in the priesthood. The two largest cities in the diocese have a monthly Mass and Holy Hour specifically for vocations. The diocese posts short videos on their youtube channel, the videos are mostly short interviews with parish priests around the diocese.

My diocese currently has about thirty seminarians, and I personally know three men who want to enter the seminary this fall. I’m sure there are more young men who desire to enter the seminary and I just don’t know them. I know five young women who are VERY serious about entering religious life.


I don’t know that they do.

In my diocese (a big one!) we just celebrated fifteen priests ordained this year.

I’m no expert but I imagine we could have easily placed 100 or more in parishes around here. We’re gonna have serious shortages in the next few years.

It’s heartbreaking. If you walk down the halls of our beautiful seminary and look at all the class photos going back at least 100 years, you see the shrinking size of the groups in the photos. Some years you see 40 or 50 men. A few years back, you may see groups of 20. This year’s photo will be of just 15 men.



I don’t think priests are (or should be) recruited. A young man answers the call from The Holy Spirit and seeks to fulfill his vocation. Our diocese has numerous vocation retreats throughout the year to help men and women discern the call to priesthood or religious life. It is a very effective one on one spiritual experience.


“Recruiting” is simply applying a secular term to the fact that vocations must be nurtured and recognized in as many young men as possible.




Yes but it’s using a secular term because it’s a simple (even if not entirely accurate) description. Granted, it’s not like any sort of secular role - there are no set number of “positions” to fill and it’s not a job it’s a way of life!

Of course, the Holy Spirit must necessarily play a major role in the process, but having said that, we too have a part to play since the Spirit works through people. So, I guess what I’m getting at is that we can’t just sit back and say “well the spirit will sort it”! Certainly the spirit does prompt (and sometimes even shove) men towards the path to priesthood but, at the same time, discernment isn’t a solitary activity. Just as the Church has a role to play in recognising vocations so too the community has a role in encouraging them. Obviously, it’s important that we pray for vocations and that parents and priests talk about it generally. Beyond this however, IMHO those who are actively discerning a vocation to the priesthood need to be provided for especially considering that discernment can be a difficult, lonely and daunting experience.

So what does my diocese do? Well, actually little if anything. There might be the odd, dated and slightly faded poster around on a few parish noticeboards but that’s about it. In days gone by we had a group for general discernment of vocations (i.e. not just priesthood) which met regularly, along with another group just for those discerning the priesthood. This was something which I found really helpful in my discernment and really wish they’d revive it but that’s not something i see happening any time soon sadly.

If I had my way, this is how I’d do things:


I think they should be recruited.

Just watching the young, I frankly think in this highly secular age a lot of young men suppress a call. Their friends don’t seem to have one, or (like her) almost everyone else is non Catholic and there’s only a few Catholics in their circle of friends. Parents don’t hear about a call (you’d be surprised how often parents are the last to know anything about a child’s post school plans of any kind) and start suggesting secular careers. The age when parents suggested a call to the Priesthood is really past. There they sit, until they make some other plan and are off and on their way.

I think this general story works in all sorts of vocations much more than we suppose. I’m a lawyer and stumbled into that, and I find a fairly large percentage of lawyers ended up in that field that way. I know at least one lawyer who has become so interested in theology he’d become a priest now if he could (as he admits), but he’s married and of course cannot.

So, I guess where I come out on this is that I wonder if at some point young men in a parish who appear devout ought not to just be invited to consider the vocation by their Parish Priest. I knew one young man who, if that had been suggested, most likely would have, but he was a shy fell and at least so far, he’s planning a secular career, sort of.


Quite right.

Sometimes, the call is there, but it needs somebody to ask if it’s being heard.


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