WARSAW (Reuters) – Poles already make up a quarter of Europe’s Roman Catholic clergy and interest in vocation for the priesthood is on the rise after the death of compatriot Pope John Paul, church officials said on Monday.
John Paul’s death three months ago sparked an unprecedented emotional outpouring in Poland, with millions drawn to the church for prayers for Karol Wojtyla, a man credited with inspiring the peaceful revolution that toppled communism.
Daily Gazeta Wyborcza reported that in some dioceses twice as many students were interested in studying for the priesthood than a year ago.
Pilgrims walk under a poster of the late Pope John II in Chestochowa, southern Poland in this June 28, 2005 file photo.
This year’s recruitment is not yet finished but we already see much higher interest," Father Andrzej Szcieszko, head of the Lodz seminary in central Poland, told Reuters.
"Surely this is linked to the death of Pope John Paul. Through his death we have been endowed with Divine Grace and we should pray for these young boys."
Gazeta said about 1,400 Poles started in priesthood seminaries last year, the second highest figure in Europe after Ukraine, a predominantly Orthodox country with a large Catholic minority. [Source]