Always an interesting read for those in the business of vocation recruiting is the annual CARA report on the newly ordained. As is usual for CARA reports, heavy on data, leaving analysis up to the reader. Of highlight, according to Rocco:
For yet another year, "people, not paper" won the day -- CARA reports that "relatively few ordinands say that TV, radio, billboards, or other vocational advertising were instrumental in their discernment." (Most influential media, however: websites... but only for 14%.) Yet again proving the adage that "the best advertisement for priestly vocations is... a happy priest," four out of five responded that it was a priest's invite to consider entering formation that got 'em thinking, with "personal witness of priests, brothers, and other seminarians" ranked first among the group's most-cited factors toward discernment. In addition, forty-four percent of the group had participated in parish youth ministry prior to the seminary, and one in five had attended a World Youth Day pre-sem.
Question to consider, especially among the priests readers: have you invited anyone to consider the call? It remains the one single biggest motivator for attracting men to the seminary; yet so many priests 'don't want to force the issue.' It is not 'forcing the Spirit's hand,' but allowing the Spirit to work through you! That's what you were ordained to do, afterall.
My case is similar, but different. While I certainly had priest encouragement, the biggest influencer in my vocation was one of God's Blue Haired Army. Every time I saw her during high school, which was frequent, she would look up at me and say: "You're going to be a priest someday!"
I would yell back: "Stop it! Doctor, not priest!"
She simply chided: "I'm praying for you!"
Moral of the story: if you need something, don't ask the preist, ask God's Blue Hair Army, they're the ones that get it done!