England: number of seminarians rises

Here is some good news.

The number of seminarians in England is on the rise.

From CNA:

England sees highest number of new seminarians in over a decade

London, England, Nov 23, 2010 / 03:11 am (CNA).- Seminaries in England have seen a rise in the number applicants this fall – the highest number in over a decade, according to the local bishops’ conference.

This September, 56 men began their journey towards the priesthood in the country, the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales announced on Nov. 15, adding that Pope Benedict’s recent visit to the U.K. may boost numbers in the near future.

“The number of people [read = MEN] responding to the call of Christ to be priests and religious has been rising slowly but surely,” said Fr. Stephen Langridge, Chairman of the Vocations Directors of England and Wales.

At their annual seminar in Birmingham earlier this month, local vocation directors discussed what has contributed to the increased interest in vocations within the U.K. One example, the recently held “Invocation” festival held in Birmingham this July 2010 for Catholic young adults, drew close to 300 men and women seeking further vocational discernment. The event was so popular that it is slated to be held again in June of 2011. [These vocation days are great.  But I think they should also have some that are focused on priesthood for MEN not just “vocations”.  And even make it diocesan priesthood from time to time.]

In addition to this initiative, several dioceses and religious orders are running discernment groups for young men and women, the bishops’ conference reported. Vocation seminar participants also noted World Youth Day Madrid in 2011 as an opportunity for young people to enrich their knowledge of Catholicism and increase their individual vocation discernment.

Fr. Christopher Jamison, director of the National Office of Vocation, who attended the Birmingham seminar, noted the life of St. John Henry Cardinal Newman, whom the Pope canonized during his recent papal trip.

“When everybody in the Church takes seriously Newman’s insight that ‘God has created me to do him some definite service,’ then a greater number discover their call to the priesthood and religious life,” Fr. Jamison said.

I will bet all the money in my pocket right now that all those young men entering seminary use the internet with agility and follow Catholic blogs.  As a result, what they see in priests such as Fr. Blake and Fr. Finigan have helped them make their decision.

Too bad something couldn’t be done to save Ushaw College.  I hope they don’t do anything precipitous and short-sighted with that place.

Now English bishops and priests must take advantage of the “Benedict bounce” subsequent to the Pope’s visit and put out a positive and traditional image of the Roman Catholic priest.  Solid dignified liturgical worship and clerical comportment will be a key to this.

Get organized, men!

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13 Responses to England: number of seminarians rises

  1. thicke says:

    I think it would interesting to see how many of them are converts.

  2. Martial Artist says:

    That is, indeed, very good news. However, I did note with some surprise that the author of the article seems to have gotten the facts about Bl. John Henry Newman just a bit wrong. Unless I have pulled a “Rip van Winkle,” or (more likely since my watch’s date is still correct) have passed through some form of temporal anomaly, Newman was beatified, not canonized, during the Pope’s recent pastoral visit to the UK. Therefore he is not yet, as stated in the CNA article, “St. John Henry Cardinal Newman,” although one prays that Newman will be canonized in the near future—at least this one does, as Newman was one of my inspirations to take John as one of my confirmation names.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  3. Pelicanus says:

    I disagree with the notion that there should be more of an emphasis on priestly vocations.

    The Church has got very hung up recently on the lack of priestly vocations to the detriment of the fact that we all have a vocation. The present strategies are likely to create a situation where there are no lay men left and consequently too many priests with no laity for them to shepherd or to keep them. I say this as a twenty-two year old man with a lay vocation. If all young Catholics were made aware of the fact they have a vocation which is inescapable, we would have more priests and more lay people in sustainable proportions.

    I get quite irritated when people ask me if I have considered “my priestly vocation” in an attempt to fill the ranks of the clergy. Fathers, I will be out earning over the next forty years to keep your stipends coming in and I would rather not be the only one out there doing so!

  4. SarahM says:

    “Fr. Christopher Jamison, director of the National Office of Vocation, who attended the Birmingham seminar, noted the life of St. John Henry Cardinal Newman, whom the Pope canonized during his recent papal trip.”

    Wow what a quick trip back here to do that…

    Last I knew the BLESSED John Henry Cardinal Newman’s beatification was officially proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI on 19 September 2010 in Crofton Park. So when was this Canonization done exactly?

    I’m rather chuffed there is some improvement in vocations as without those there will be even more problems with too few priests.

  5. chatto says:

    @ Pelicanus – to a certain extent I agree with you. I often say to my friends that the real vocations crisis is Catholic fatherhood. We’ve all seen Catholic mums bring their kids to church while too many non-Catholic dads stay at home. What does that do to a kid’s faith? Think about it – more practicing, praying, devout Catholic dads = more truly Catholic kids = more people, especially young men, open to apostolic lay life, religious life, priestly life, and genuine married life.

    When I was a bit younger (I’m now 27), I used to get annoyed when priests asked if I’d ever considered the priesthood. ‘Getting collared’ I call it. Now, after 5 years, it doesn’t bother me so much. It’s nice to know they think I could. Rather that, than wanting to do it and having them ‘um’ and ‘ah’ over my suitability. If you’re not called to the priesthood, ask God to send labourers to the harvest in your stead.

  6. Norah says:

    These vocation days are great. But I think they should also have some that are focused on priesthood for MEN not just “vocations”

    Yes and if they do that people will write and call “why the focus on men? Isn’t my vocation to the married life, the religious consecrated life just as important?” etc etc We must never, never, never by word or deed give rise to the suspicion that a vocation to the priesthood is more important even than other vocations. No priest no Mass, no priest no Reconciliation, no priest no Annointing of the Sick.

  7. Jack Hughes says:

    Although I am not one of those young men entering this year I DO LONG to be a Religious Priest, I do use the Internet wisely; following Catholic blogs and yes I am a convert.

  8. irishgirl says:

    I’m just a middle-aged (50s) single woman….I don’t have a ‘vocation’.
    My ‘best years’ have passed me by. I thought of being a Carmelite nun in my late teens and early twenties….didn’t happen. I was in two Third Orders in succession (Franciscans, then Carmelites)….wasn’t able to stay in those.
    Never wanted to get married…so I’m stuck with being single because that’s all that’s left.

  9. Jack Hughes says:

    Irish Girl

    you have my sympathies; I’m currently wondering what God wants from me, I’m in my early 20’s and although I really would like to be a mystic monk in wyoming there is the small matter of £20,000 of collage loans which would prevent me entering, that and Marriage no longer has the appeal to me that it once had.

  10. Supertradmum says:

    One of those young men desiring to be a priest in England is my son, who is over there for good. He is not a convert. Pray for him, please, as he is now at Buckfast Abbey continuing his discernment process.

  11. Hidden One says:

    “I will bet all the money in my pocket right now that all those young men entering seminary use the internet with agility and follow Catholic blogs. ”

    Father, I don’t know about the new English seminarians, but if you made that statement about the new Canadian seminarians, you would be rather far from correct.

  12. Hidden: you would be rather far from correct

    Really? Canadian seminarians don’t know how to use the internet?

    Okay… I am just going to bite my tongue on this one and let it pass.

  13. irishgirl says:

    Thanks, Jack Hughes…. ; )….you are a sweetie!