And it got me thinking about the vocation crisis in our country - and what can be done. It's also a follow-up to some thoughts I had about this article I found about a month ago.
This year there is one guy being ordained a deacon in the US, another in Italy and a guy being ordained to the priesthood. There is a serious issue! We are doing something wrong, or something else not enough. So I got to thinking about what can be done to bring more men into the priesthood.
The first issue is even bigger than the number of men in the seminary - it's that boys aren't even thinking about joining the priesthood. In our diocese, teens were asked "have you ever considered a vocation to the priesthood or religious life?" and they responded overwhelmingly 'no' - 75% of youth. This is an issue - our children aren't even considering this as a life decision!
So what can be done? I think that simple fostering of children to know how joyful the priesthood is can make a huge difference. Hence the photo above. The boys were running around the Church during a Baptism - going into the Sanctuary. So Father said, "boys, have a sit down - if you want to be in the sanctuary then you should think about being a priest." He said they were super attentive - and OF COURSE, they were - this is a guy they see up front in funny/interesting clothes every day and he was talking directly to them!
Another thought I had was this: what if every parish sent one man to the seminary every year? Or even every four years. In our Diocese alone we would have 90 seminarians every year, or a total of 90 every 4 years. What a huge impact that would make in the Catholic Church!
Then priests could teach in schools, work in social services, and in general have more time to meet with parishioners in need - as well as the many people who have fallen away from the parish and those who have never been Catholic. We could make a serious effort in evangelization without even trying!!! Especially in light of this article I read today!
My parents' generation left the Church without leaving the pews. And now they wonder why their kids find it silly to stand in the pews of a church they never really understood professing creeds they never really believed.