Last week, diocesan vocation directors from across the country gathered in the great city of Milwaukee for our annual convention, which tends to be a great time, to say the least. (bring together 200 mostly young, extroverted priests, shake, and see what happens......)
Unique for this year was the opportunity presented by gathering with representatives from MATS (Midwest Association of Theological Schools) and NCEA Seminary Division; both sanctioning bodies for Catholic seminaries in this country. It provided a rich opportunity to discuss issues and build relationships between the two groups and to see how we can work together better.
Some of the highlights of the convetion:
1) Anecdotal reports indicate an increase in enrollment in seminaries across the board, with many seminaries reported record enrollment since the early to mid 80's. (One benefit of a continued slide in the economy???)
2) Annual reports continue to indicate that while 80-90% of men being ordained first considered the priesthood upon the recommendation of a priest; only 30% of priests actually invite men to consider it. Into this void, NCDVD has published a second discernment guide: 'Lend Your Voice to Christ.' What this space for a further review shortly.
3) Cardinal George delivered the final keynote address and gave some great points to ponder, very practical ideas in moving forward with attracting vocations.
4) finally, a reminder: It is not up to the vocation director to recruit and attract candidates for the priesthood; it is for every single Catholic! We try to assist you in that endeavor. Pray for that young man you know who might have a vocation, that he might be open to it if God calls; encourage him by word and deed; finally, ask him to consider it, and praise him while doing so. It is an honor to be considered for the priesthood; it is an honor to be used by Our Lord as a conduit for that invitation. If He is asking you to be His spokesman, you have an obligation to do so.