I was quite happy to hear last Sunday in Mass that my Diocese of St. Augustine currently has 22 seminarians. Bishop Felipe J. Estevez is not resting on this though and it looks like the diocese has a strong program concerning vocations and they estimate they will have up to 28 seminarians next year. Though of course this also mean a Lenten appeal by the bishop to help to monetarily support this increase in seminarians.
Also before Mass last Sunday they played a vocations DVD that the diocese had developed on two televisions brought into the parish. I was glad to see this done before Mass and that the TV was removed from the sanctuary prior to Mass. The the vocations film they had I think ran a bit long and could have used some editing and been a bit more focused. But showing laughing and quite happy seminarians is a nice appeal along with the message of the video.
It was also nice to see a good article in the local newspaper concerning this.
It wasn’t an eloquent homily or recruiting poster that convinced Bryan Holtz to pursue priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church.
Instead, it was seeing the fun and fraternity enjoyed by other men embarked on the religious life that brought the Jacksonville native and former Bishop Kenny quarterback to heed his long-time calling.
“I saw the joy they had from authentically giving up everything to serve the Lord,” said Holtz, 32, a seminarian serving a year in a Gainesville parish. “That’s what attracted me.”
Clergy members who oversee recruitment of priests for the Jacksonville-based Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine say they’re hearing stories like Holtz’s more and more. They chalk it up to a number of factors, ranging from the influence of God and late Pope John Paul II, to increases in population and church involvement. [Source]
I had to laugh though at one of the comments in response to the article.
Or maybe reflects hard economic times when a job in the priesthood looks pretty good compared to unemployment.
Yes that explains the increase of vocations in the seventies when economic times were rough – oh wait. I just find this comment unintentionally hilarious. What does the commenter think the though process is concerning some unemployed Catholic men? “Well times are tough right now, so maybe I will just become a priest instead. Those multi-years in seminary are just the longest job interview ever.” That diocesan vocation directors can’t tell the difference between somebody determining if they have a vocation to the priesthood and somebody who just wants a job.