My latest runs in this week's Catholic Telegraph:
The middle week of September saw diocesan directors of vocations from across the country gathering in the fair city of Milwaukee for our annual convention. As we tend to be on the younger side of the clergy and dominated by extroverts, this tends to be a rather fun conference. Laughs were shared as friendships fostered in seminary and over previous conferences renewed and the frustrations of a challenging ministry were commiserated.
Amid the frivolity, there was work to be done. Perhaps the most significant piece to come out of this year’s convention is a guide for priests to help call forth men to the priesthood. “Lend Your Own Voice to Christ” is a response to the annual survey of men being ordained to the priesthood. Consistently, 80 to 88 percent of newly ordained priests report that they first considered the priesthood upon the recommendation of a priest. However, only 30 percent of priests actually make the invitation! This short booklet grew out of the question of how to encourage more priests to make this invitation to share in their life.
The invitation to consider the priesthood is not rocket science but does have some sure and certain connections with the faith. Most basic of these is that Jesus first calls a man to the priesthood through the pastor of his soul. The priesthood is the living icon of Christ, His enduring presence to the world. He uses those whom He has already chosen to select the next generation to lay down their life in service at the altar. It remains a clear fact that the witness of a joy-filled priest is the best recruitment tool for the priesthood, just as happy and fulfilled marriages beget the same in the next generation.
Also in this week's Telegraph is a report on the two new men from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati who have begun studies there this fall.
Finally, now that I know how to do this, the Vocation Office has relaunched our newsletters!
September 2010 can be found here.
July/August 2010 can be found here.