Unlike other Roman Catholic seminarians, Bryan Dolejsi didn’t grow up an altar boy or go to Catholic schools. He didn’t throw himself into church youth groups. He didn’t hear the call to priesthood his entire life, but rather, one routine day in college as he studied Chinese history in the library.
"It was definitely a very clear moment. It was just (God saying), ‘I want you to be a priest.’ I thought, ‘Oh, that’s weird. That didn’t come from me,’ " said Dolejsi, who had always assumed he’d get married and have kids. He had a girlfriend at the time, to whom he had to explain God’s request of him to "love in a different way."
This summer, after a nine-year journey of prayer and self-analysis, Dolejsi will start his last year of graduate-level theological studies, at a time when the numbers of American priests and seminary enrollments have plunged to all-time lows.
Definitely not a factually correct statement about American seminary enrollments being at an all time low and the next paragraph says that Seattle’s case bucks the national trend.
Dolejsi is part of a local trend bucking the national drift. He’s part of a bumper crop of seminarians sponsored by the Seattle Archdiocese — the highest number the local church has had in decades. At 30, Dolejsi — a fan of ultimate Frisbee and mountain biking — is also part of a new generation of younger men interested in wearing the collar.
…Soon after Dolejsi heard his calling, he told a woman at a party about his plans. "She said, ‘You seem really normal to be doing that.’ I thought, is that a compliment, or not?" he said, laughing.
"That summarizes the contemporary mind-set in general; it’s seen as something that’s odd, or a novelty."
…Rich Shively, the archdiocese’s vocations director, attributes those changes to two factors: an increased local focus in encouraging young men to consider the priesthood, and a growing orthodoxy among young Catholics influenced by the long papacy of John Paul II.
"Our approach to vocations has been intentionally low-key and invitational," he said. [Source]
Wow I wouldn’t think that anybody would boast that there vocations program was low key and invitational. I wonder just how many of the currently 35 (almost a triple increase in the last 12 years) seminarians considered their vocation because of low-key program Though it might be that in the case of Bryan Dolejsi that God was definitely not low key in informing him of his vocation.
It’s interesting, that this “local” trend is happening “locally” across the country. Mundelein Seminary is the largest seminary in the country, and is at its fullest point in years. Mount Angel, where I attended college seminary, is also at its fullest point in years, and is the second largest seminary in the country. (Mt. Angel’s trailers were still full and they were talking about doubling up the incoming first year college students when I graduated Spring 2004.) Diocese like Chicago and Minneapolis-St. Paul had their largest ordination classes in 30+ years. Sorry, I don’t buy the “numbers of seminarians are still dropping” line.
When I was at Mt. Angel seminary, every year they were saying “this is our biggest incoming class since closing the high school.”
They had 2 double-wide trailers that were more dorm rooms, because there wasn’t enough room in the old facilities.
Vocations are growing, all over America
“Seattle’s case bucks the national trend” and so does Chicago’s, and Milwaukee’s, and several other places we have heard about in recent weeks. Who identifies these trends?
It’s a very Pope Benedict kind of approach; rather than mass marketing campaigns, they’ve gone back to the one-on-one approach. My parish is generating 2 or 3 vocations a year through a combination of 1) mass marketing stuff like Men In Black basketball games (priests & seminarians vs. parishioners) to identify those who might be interested, and then 2) smaller retreats and individual counseling for those most likely to make the jump.
I think that one past hindrance to vocations was liberal lay review committees.
I’m glad to hear that numbers are growing in seminaries, but I’m concerned that seminaries have cleaned up their training. My brother was ordained in 2002, but to his dismay, he ran into some rather unorthodox teaching. He, and others like him, had to really run a gauntlet of progressive ideology… like, one teacher expressing that Christ had not risen. A few orthodox leaning men were run out of seminary back then. I hope it has changed.
Teresa, it is sad and wrong that the liberal progressive theology is still in some seminaries but what a blessing that those young men are able to see it for what it is and what it is not. The Holy Spirit at work right there!
I guess we’ll not here of the uptick in seminarians via the regular press outlets since it would squelch the outcry for married and/or womyn priests due to the ‘scarcity of the Eucharist’ line of wishful thinking.
Roman Art past and present
Roman builders could show contractor a few things
St. Petersburg Times – While engrossed in a History Channel series on ancient Rome last week, a fleeting image brought me back to modern times and to a couple of local nightmares. If anything, I was be…