Poll: Increase in seminarians?


#1

Is your diocese experiencing an increase or decrease in seminarians in the last 10 years?


#2

I’ll start: the Diocese of Joliet is blessed with nearly double the number of seminarians it had 10 years ago. As more priests near retirement age, we will need them! Kudos to Fr. John Regan our diocesan vocations director.

-Illini


#3

An increase in vocations to the priesthood, an increase in vocations to the diaconate, and an increase in vocations to the laity. A trifecta.

And, in my view, an increase in quality as well as quanity.


#4

Here in the Diocese of Arlington, we have an overabundance of priests. My local church, which is actually a pretty small church, has 4 priests. Couple of reasons for this:

  1. Good local bishop who supports voactions
  2. The seminarians attend a great seminary (Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, MD) that has an established reputation for orthodoxy.
  3. One of only 2 dioceses (Lincoln is the other) that doesn’t allow altar girls, period. Lincoln doesn’t have a voactions crisis either.

Recommended reading: Good Bye, Good Men by Michael Rose. I know that the National Catholic Register ripped into Rose a little bit for some of what he wrote in there about the American Seminary in Louvain, Belgium, but if even half of what he documents there is true, you will be scandalized. And you will know exactly why some dioceses don’t get vocations and why the sex abuse scandal happened. Rose wrote most of the book before the big scandals broke.


#5

we went from several years with no ordinations, and no seminarians, to 2-3 ordinations a year and now we have built our own seminary, started with 6 now up to 10-12 (haven’t visited this year so I don’t know exact count). Most are from Mexico or other Latin American countries, but most will be ordained for this diocese if they stick it out. The ones I have met and worked with are some of the finest young men I have known.


#6

This topic is especially near and dear to me as for a time I was part of the answer. I was born and raised in the diocese of Des Moines, Iowa. My birthplace has been the site of one of the best, if modest, vocational success stories in recent years. Seven years ago vocations in Des Moines were a joke. There were three seminarians on the books, and two of them looked pretty sketchy. No attempt was made in the local grade or high schools to actively promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Even the bishop seemed to have given up, especially when he selected as the new vocation director not some get-up-and-go youngster, but a seemingly tired old priest, certainly on his last assigment, who had taught high school for most of his carreer. Father John Acrea surprised all of us. Though he was empirically older, he had more drive, passion, and energy than all of his seminarians (and most of the priests) combined. He was a square-shooting, hard-hitting, salt-of-the-earth kind of priest, just right for Iowa corn and bean fields. Father Acrea retired from the position of vocations director as of the first of this year, and seven years laster Des Moines has nineteen seminarians. In addition, I, who was once among their number, am now a live-in-candidate with a religious congregation. Another native Des Moinesian from this era will be ordained a priest for the Collegeville Benedictines in a few weeks. Ther Serra Club has been transformed from a community of “white caps” to a varied collage of striking young businessfolk, and best of all, the whole diocese works towards an “atmosphere of vocation.” All it takes is one man, for one man inspires one another man, who can inspire a world. The best part of the story is this: Father Acrea hasn’t quit. He’s on a very well-deserved sabbatical learning Spanish. He doesn’t know it yet, but he wants to lead by example and finish out his priesthood ministering to those who most need it in our area; the Hispanic community. Please pray for Father Acrea as he continues his work, for his successor Father Fontanini, and for the seminarians of the Diocese of Des Moines.


#7

I am starting to hear more stories of “troubled” dioceses turning themselves around as new, vigourous, and faithful blood takes charge of the seminaries. I used to live in the St. Paul/Minneapolis diocese which used to have a problematic seminary (merited mention in Good Bye, Good Men). This year St. Paul seminary is set to ordain 14 men, which is the largest number they have graduated since the 1950’s. Additionally, I know personally several of the priests running the seminary and they are faithful, orthodox, and alive. One of them that works in the minor seminary there is just beside himself with the zeal of the seminarians. For example, the group was set to go on a trip and the seminarians asked if they could get up even earlier than they were planning to (i.e. at 5:00 or 6:00am) so they could have mass and adoration before they left. The Des Moines diocese also got mentioned in Good Bye, Good Men. It is heartening to hear that things are improving there as well. Pray for our bishops, especially those who are taking over troubled dioceses.


#8

[quote=FenianMan]This topic is especially near and dear to me as for a time I was part of the answer. I was born and raised in the diocese of Des Moines, Iowa. My birthplace has been the site of one of the best, if modest, vocational success stories in recent years. Seven years ago vocations in Des Moines were a joke. There were three seminarians on the books, and two of them looked pretty sketchy. No attempt was made in the local grade or high schools to actively promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Even the bishop seemed to have given up, especially when he selected as the new vocation director not some get-up-and-go youngster, but a seemingly tired old priest, certainly on his last assigment, who had taught high school for most of his carreer. Father John Acrea surprised all of us. Though he was empirically older, he had more drive, passion, and energy than all of his seminarians (and most of the priests) combined. He was a square-shooting, hard-hitting, salt-of-the-earth kind of priest, just right for Iowa corn and bean fields. Father Acrea retired from the position of vocations director as of the first of this year, and seven years laster Des Moines has nineteen seminarians. In addition, I, who was once among their number, am now a live-in-candidate with a religious congregation. Another native Des Moinesian from this era will be ordained a priest for the Collegeville Benedictines in a few weeks. Ther Serra Club has been transformed from a community of “white caps” to a varied collage of striking young businessfolk, and best of all, the whole diocese works towards an “atmosphere of vocation.” All it takes is one man, for one man inspires one another man, who can inspire a world. The best part of the story is this: Father Acrea hasn’t quit. He’s on a very well-deserved sabbatical learning Spanish. He doesn’t know it yet, but he wants to lead by example and finish out his priesthood ministering to those who most need it in our area; the Hispanic community. Please pray for Father Acrea as he continues his work, for his successor Father Fontanini, and for the seminarians of the Diocese of Des Moines.
[/quote]

a wonderful story of all that can be done by one engaging, pastoral, energetic and innovative man acting on his ministry. God bless. I’m pleased to learn a monastic vocation was part of the success story.


#9

I have no idea about the stats in my area, but do pray often for increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life in my private prayers and during the “intentions of the people” prayer during daily mass (when individuals in the pews can offer up a prayer out loud).


#10

I’m not voting because I haven’t been in my diocese for 10 years so I’m not sure. When I first came here (Galveston-Houston) the number of priests ordained that year was 2. The seminary admitted 19 last year.

A couple years ago the seminary got a new rector and the diocese appointed a new director of vocations who seems to be a wonderful priest. I have seen him talk at Catechist training. The previous one was a nun (at least she was the one listed on the diocese web site). The seminary is mentioned as one of those “in transition” - meant in a good way.

The latest class is also a nice mix. Probably half are from Asian countries. There is a large Korean community that always has several aspirants. There are some from Eastern Europe, Philipines and Latin America. The most recent class also had a few home-grown Anglo men. There hadn’t been any the few years before that.


#11

In our diocese, there was one priest ordained last year, so I assume there are not very many in the seminary. Why can’t priests be sent to places that have a shortage, from places the have too many?


#12

We have to pray a lot and we need that in dioceses like New York, Los Angeles, Boston or Chicago, the things change, and the priests, seminarians and seminaries were orthodox.


#13

Franze forget Boston. ArchBishop O’Mally wrote a very long letter in the Pilot last week about vocation’s. My office is around the corner from St. John’s Seminary and the have’t seen any increase and I doubt they will. Bishop Lennon has the whole Archdiocese man as hell at him. ArchBishop O’Mally has a very hands off approach to the church closing and Lennon is so antagonistic that people here are madder than when the scandal broke. He has sent letter’s to parishes that at meeting he said he has no idea what we are talking about. At our meeting he walked out on us when we produced a letter that was sent that contridicted what he was saying at the meeting.
I atend the most conservative Parish in the diocese which is closing. We have in 15 years produced 4 ordained priest’s and 4 current seminarian’s. We also pray every Sunday after Mass for vocation’s about 2/3 stay to pray. No other Parish does this. If you want priest’s you have to pray for them. Irate Catholic’s aren’t inclined to pary after Mass if they even attend. Now one would think if your Parish is producing priest’s we wouldn’t be closed but that is the failure of Bishop Lennon he just doesn’t care. Have you ever heard anything so dumb as to close a Church that has a steady stream of vocations. Could it be that only one has become a diocesian priest and the rest have gone to TLM order’s, mostly FSSP. Collect $200 and pass GO!!!
At the 7pm Mass on the Fast of the Immaculate Conception over 30 man stayed to pray together as member’s of the HNS. As I turned and looked back I thought how many vocations are out there. Now it will all be lost. They are trying to break up our community. This is the ADOB for you. Way to go Bishop Lennon. :rolleyes:
Kathy


#14

There are still very few new priests around here, it still seems as if significantly more are quitting/retiring/dying than being ordained.

But since this is a fairly long standing situation, I 'd say its “about the same” over the past 10.


#15

Bishop Vigneron as an auxillary here in Detroit and was a faboulous rector for Sacred Heart Seminary, until Oakland CA snatched him.

He did a big turn around and it’s been showing. There’s been a slight increase in seminarians.


#16

Right now, I believe we will have 1 priest ordained this year and two the following year.

ybiC,
Trevor


#17

Well, here in England vocations are more or less non-existent - perhaps one per diocese every year on average. The more liberal the bishop, the fewer the vocations: my own diocese, ruled by Bishop Hollis, had no priests ordained at all last year, and only one the year before that, though we get deacons OK.

Portsmouth (my diocese) is now in the second stage of ‘parish consultations’: the Bishop writes a long, glossy document full of well-meaning fluff-guff, we’re all supposed to attend numerous meetings about what the Holy Spirit is saying to the community (‘Church’ is not a nice word round here save after ‘We are’) - and we all know that at the end of this ‘consultation period’, parishes will be closed or amalgamated and church buildings sold off. However, since I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a sermon or homily about the beauty of the priest’s vocation (the only time our priests mention vocations, they tell us how much more blessed it is to follow the vocation of marriage): and since any moderately orthodox young man would be promptly turned down if he sought admission into any English seminary - well, it’s not surprising.

Sue


#18

[quote=Brendan]Bishop Vigneron as an auxillary here in Detroit and was a faboulous rector for Sacred Heart Seminary, until Oakland CA snatched him.

He did a big turn around and it’s been showing. There’s been a slight increase in seminarians.
[/quote]

Turn your eyes to Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Sterling Heights. We have eight!!!

Only Altar Boys, lots of prayers and some support at Christmas time. Someone is doing something right (God Bless Father Ben)


#19

Chicago seems to be slowly on the uptick. There has been quite a bit of reorganization and new efforts at recruiting non-traditional candidates over the past decade and it all seems to be starting to come together.

Illini, is your number for Joliet counting just those in major seminary or college seminary also? I’m aquainted with one of your guys who’s at St. John Vianney in the Twin Cities.


#20

[quote=netmilsmom]Turn your eyes to Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Sterling Heights. We have eight!!!

Only Altar Boys, lots of prayers and some support at Christmas time. Someone is doing something right (God Bless Father Ben)
[/quote]

Assumtion Grotto isint doing too badly in vocations either from what I understand.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.