Is there a recruitment effort for priests?


#1

One of my Catholic friends and I were talking about a Catholic conference/retreat that several teens from her parish attended recently. It was a very exciting weekend for these kids and they came back enthusiastic to share the love of Christ with others. Actually, I am not Catholic but my daughter almost went as well but we held her back since she was leaving for a missions trip overseas the next day...sacrifices!

One thing that my friend told me that concerned her was an active effort to ask the young men to come forward to show their openness to a calling for the priesthood. While she believes that we all should be open to God's call in our life to serve whether it be as a priest, nun, pastor, volunteer, etc. she thought a call to the front of the stage was a bit much. This call was ONLY made for guys to be open to priesthood. There were no similar calls for other means of service for the kids. Her thoughts were that she would prefer this calling come through prayer and discussion with the parish priest or other parish leader instead and that it felt like a "recruitment" effort. She told me the Catholic church is always needing priests (just as any ministry always needs more people!) but that maybe this should be done at a time when you do not have hoopla at a conference and young people are vulnerable.

What do you all think?


#2

Without having been there I cannot say much about the particular situation, what was said, how it was handled etc...

As to the matter of "recruiting"...I believe that the Church DOES need to do more active recruiting of young men to be "Open to the call". All things being equal, one might agree, as you say, that the call should be internal, but unfortunately in today's society not all things are equal.

Young people are inundated with stimulus, none of it to the religious life. The Church needs to seek to counteract this in the catechesis of young men. So that any who might have the call are able to truly hear it. Also that parents be open to their sons becoming priests (unfortunately this is too often not the case).

There is a great deal to be overcome in today's society and also a great deal of catechetical work to be done within the Church so that those young men who DO think they might have the call can readily and openly discern.

As to the retreat only mentioning the call to the priesthood, I agree that perhaps there should have been something similar for others, boys and girls, who might feel the call to religious life as brothers or sisters.

Peace
James


#3

Just as an add-on

Here in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, our "new" Archbishop is indeed focusing on the recruitment of Priests. he has composed and issued to the parishes a prayer for vocations, not just to the priesthood, but for religious brothers and sisters and for good Catholic parents (who then might raise up future priests, brothers and sisters).

We say this prayer at every Sunday mass at the end of our prayers of petition.

I might add that when our current Archbishop was Bishop of Duluth MN diocese, enrollment at the seminary up there tripled (from 8 to 24). That was a relatively sparsely populated diocese. I'm hoping his efforts here will have an equally dramatic result.

Praise God for our Good Archbishop Dennis Schnurr

Peace
James


#4

The priesthood is a very public ministry. If a young teen does not feel comfortable going to the front of the auditorium, then it may be a sign that the young man does not have such a vocation. By extension, if he does feel such a calling, but is discouraged by fear of social pressure, others going up could help him feel at ease. The priesthood is both a solitary ministry, and a community.

The priesthood isn't just another "ministry" or a numbers game. Its a life's calling. One doesn't simply show up and become inducted to the priesthood. The most that the boys who approach the alter would get is some basic information about what courses to take, and a business card to speak to the diocese's vocations director.

Meeting with the director is so not much about recruiting, as it is discerning. I've spoken to a priest about a calling, and he basically told me that he thought I'd make a great husband and father. It really helped me feel more confident about life choices I'd made to that point. I stopped second guessing myself about whether I should halt everything and become priest instead.

Publicly affirming the calling to the priesthood to young people is vitally important, even if it doesn't lead to the seminary!


#5

I agree that recruitment to the priesthood is needed, just as recruitment to religious life is needed. I recently went to a Steubenville retreat and they called young men who thought they might have a call to the priesthood and young women who think they might have a call to the religious life. The only group they left out were men discerning the religious life. (As a side note it made me really happy to see the amount of people down there, and there were a TON)


#6

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