A good friend of mine yells at me if I don't give 'action items' at the end of my homily. (Hi, Jackie!) As I have posted the two main parts of the homily that I usually give to promote vocations, I feel I should add the last section as well.
Surveys in this country and in Europe state that 36% of young people have thought about the priesthood or religious life at some point in their life. 36% That's one of three! (If there are three servers, I usually ask which one gets the application after Mass. They usually look back and forth at each other and point at anyone put themselves.) Vocations are present and God is calling people, we, as a Church community, need to help that call by encouraging and lifting people up in prayer, BY NAME!, to respond to the invitation that God is giving. If you see in a young person the qualities and characteristics that would make a good priest or religious, TELL THEM! Chances are, they are already thinking about it in the back of their mind and this will help to confirm that thought process. This is how I ended up in the seminary. A dear lady from the parish kept telling me every time I saw her that I would be a priest. "No, Cindy, I'm going to Medical School." "No you're not, you are going to be a priest." Low and behold, two years later I was in the seminary. (Never underestimate God's Blue Army!)
The second homework assignment is to pray specifically for more vocations to the priesthood. A fellow priest puts it simply: add the following five words after Grace at meals: "Please send us holy priests." (If you want to add "and religious," do so!) Jesus promises us that he will give us what we ask for sincerely in prayer. He also tells us to ask for the Master of the Harvest to send more laborers into the field. Vocations are there, and they are abundant. Those being called need the courage and strength to respond to God's invitation, with the prayers of the faithful, they can have that strength.
We have 34 men studying for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati right now. I want to double that number, at least. (Hey, it is good to set goals.) With the prayers of the faithful, we can achieve that, and much more.
(Ok, so now I have to develop a new homily for vocations.)
edit for speeling...