Disaster. Vocations. Identity. Liturgy. Prayer. ACTION ITEM and Fr. Z rants.

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A while back I wrote that people get the priests that they deserve.  Collectively, at least.  Priests don’t just spring full grown from the heads of… cabbage.

Recently, a writer at hyper-liberal Commonweal suggested that vocations are down because his grand vision of the spirit of Vatican II was stifled by the baaaaad Popes John Paul and Benedict.  If only we had more visionaries like Card. Kasper, we’d have more wonderful “presbyters” and sunshine and happy little puppies and more hugging, etc.

The problem is, in those places where his vision of the Church has been implement in full force, hardly anyone goes to Church anymore and there are no vocations.  What a wonderful success!  Take Belgium, for example: 5% Mass attendance.

I remember some time back when there were no men admitted for one year to a major seminary for an archdiocese, they crowed about how effective their screening process was.  Another success!

Many years ago my old pastor, Msgr. Schuler, commenting on the liberal trend in the archdiocese at that time and about how the powers-that-were were talking about priest-less parishes, quipped that they were like the Irish, sitting around talking about how to die rather than figuring out how to plant more crops.

Now I read this, about Ireland, another place where the liberal modernist spirit has for decades ravaged the land.  This is from the Irish Times (with my emphases and comments):

No Mass to take place in Limerick diocese next Tuesday
Fall-off in Catholic priesthood vocations leads to unprecedented situation

Masses will not be said at any church in the Diocese of Limerick next Tuesday, April 25th – the first time since Catholic Emancipation in 1829 that this has happened in any Irish diocese.
Instead, there will be only lay-led liturgies of the Word (readings) and public prayers in churches, with no Mass and no Communion on that day. The lack of services in the Limerick diocese is directly related to the fall-off in priestly vocations, despite major efforts by the diocese to best use existing priests.  [This is the reporter writing, granted, but note… “existing priests”.]
Communion will not be distributed on Tuesday, but this is not to suggest it might never be so distributed at future lay-led liturgies, especially, for instance, on Sundays in nursing homes, said a diocesan spokesman.
Last November, Bishop Brendan Leahy warned that a chronic shortage of priests, coupled with falling Mass attendances, could lead to “some churches” having Mass “every second Sunday or one Sunday a month”.
Limerick diocese has a Catholic population of 184,340 in 60 parishes, with 94 churches. It has 83 active priests, made up of 45 parish priests and 38 curates, with just 10 of them under the age of 50.
“All over the world, when priests are not available, the liturgy of the Word is celebrated in parishes without the distribution of Communion. We are, in many respects, going back to the future[?!?] as not that long ago people would attend weekly Mass without receiving Communion, which was largely a sacrament received only occasionally,” Bishop Leahy said.  [Good grief!  The problem with this is that when, back in the day, people didn’t receive Communion as often when they went to Mass… THEY WENT TO MASS.  And the thing they went to was MASS and not some “liturgy”.   Ohhhh how I detest the use of the generic word “liturgy” instead of “Mass”.  It has helped to erode, over time, the sense of what Mass is.]
Chronic shortage
The chronic shortage of priests next Tuesday is because priests across the diocese will attend a one-day training course, The Irish Times understands.  [The writer should go back to school.]
Last year, a 400-strong diocesan synod, 300 of them lay,  [?!?] acknowledged the need for greater involvement by the laity, [What a surprise!] including situations where lay people would lead prayers in church.
Noting that the synod had strongly supported this, Bishop Leahy said: “We need to prepare for a time when, even though priests are not available, each local community will be prepared to arrange for moments of public prayer.
“No parish should find itself in a position where it is not prepared for such a possibility, so it makes sense for us to begin right now,” he said.  [Yep.  That’s the spirit.]
There are currently 67 men studying for the priesthood – 55 at St Patrick’s College Maynooth and 12 at the Irish College in Rome. [NB:  That’s for Ireland not for just Limerick.] Maynooth was designed to cater for 500 seminarians. It has just over a tenth of that number now. Meanwhile, the average age of the Irish Catholic diocesan priest hovers at around 67. They retire at 75.  [One of my priest friends told me that in 5 years time they project that in their US diocese they will lose 50% of their priests to retirement or death.]
A 2013 study found that three-quarters of Ireland’s priests were then aged between 45 and 74, with the largest proportion (27.1 per cent) in the 65-74 age group. Altogether in 2013, 64.9 per cent of Irish priests were over 55, while, as the study put it, “the proportions of priests in the sub-44 age groups are decreasing”. In 2013 that latter figure was 11.9 per cent.
No resident priest
Last month, the Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois Francis Duffy said three parishes in his diocese no longer have a resident priest: “This trend of a declining number of clergy is set to continue.”
He said that “by 2030, over the next 13 years, 28 of our 53 diocesan priests will reach the retirement age of 75 years”. There would then be 25 priest to serve 41 parishes.
The Dublin archdiocese does not have a priest under the age of 40.[Did you get that?] In 2014 there were a total of 419 priests serving its 1,159,000 Catholics in 199 parishes with a total 238 churches. In 13 years’ time, by 2030, there are expected to be 192 priests under 75 (retirement age) in the archdiocese.
The number of diocesan priests in the decade 2002 to 2012, went from 3,203 in 2002 to 2,800 in 2012, a fall of 403, while the number of religious priests – members of congregations and orders – dropped from 2,159, to 1,888 in 2012. For the female congregations, the drop in numbers was bigger, down from 8,953 in 2002 to 6,912 in 2012 – a fall of 2,041.

A number of things now come to mind.  First, I remember well what Pope Benedict XVI wrote to the Irish people after the clerical sexual abuse crisis exploded there. HERE He wrote, among other things, that in Ireland there should be greater Eucharistic adoration and reparation for sins and an increase of the sacrament of penance.  I wonder if that has been done, as the Pope asked.   Wanna place any bets?

Next, I get the sense that certain bishops and priests don’t give a damn about vocations. They want the lay-run church in which the rare priest occasionally comes around to provide the white thing that gets handed out before they sing the song together.

Isn’t that what Communion has become for so many catholics?  They put the white thing in our hand and then we sing the song.  And don’t we feel good about ourselves?

Is that going to produce priests and religious vocations?

There is no lack of priestly vocations where bishops and priests project solid clerical identity and where they teach perennial Catholic truth in charity and in clarity.

Moreover, in this matter of priestly and religious vocations, no initiative will succeed unless we have a top down and bottom up revitalization of our sacred liturgical worship.

That means a wide-spread, wholesale return to traditional practices including, especially, ad orientem worship (Card. Sarah is right!) and the elimination of Communion in the hand.

We must restore to our worship an ars celebrandi which favors an encounter with mystery rather than fostering an encounter with ourselves in self-affirmation.

FATHERS! BISHOPS!

We have to get down on our knees constantly and pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life.  Let’s not pray for generic “vocations”, lumping them all together.  No.  We need a public, manifest, constant call for vocations to the priesthood from our own homes and families, not someone else’s.

At the parish where I serve, the pastor and I had cards printed with an old prayer for vocations used at my home parish, where there was on average a First Mass every year.   From now on, at every Sunday and Holy Day Mass, after the Gospel and before the announcements and sermon, everyone will kneel and say this prayer:

LEADER: Please kneel for our prayer for vocations.  Let us as God to give worthy priests, brothers and sisters to His Holy Church.

ALL: O God, we earnestly beseech Thee to bless this (arch)diocese with many priests, brothers and sisters, who will gladly spend their entire lives to serve Thy Church and to make Thee known and loved.

LEADER: Bless our families. Bless our children.

ALL: Choose from our homes those who are needed for Thy work.

LEADER: Mary, Queen of the Clergy!

ALL: Pray for us. Pray for our priests and religious. Obtain for us many more.

A friend back home – whom I miss rather a lot – sent me one of the original holy cards, which I prize.

20131210-104023.jpg

20131210-104032.jpg

Note that key line:

Choose from our homes those who are needed for Thy work.

We had cards made with beautiful artwork on the front and this very prayer on the back.  Soon it will be so much a part of the regular Sunday and Holy Day practice that everyone will know it by heart.  It will ring in the ears of young people and keep the idea of a religious vocations constantly present and active.  I don’t doubt the outcome.

This is an ACTION ITEM.   Fathers, consider implementing this in your parishes.  And don’t junk the prayer up with additions about “married life” or “single life” or “permanent deacons”.  Just leave it as it is.  We’ve done the heavy lifting by already printing the cards if you want to drop a line.

Lay people!  Especially you who are in sound parishes!  Go to your priests with this post and ask them to implement a prayer for vocations to the priesthood.  Keep at them.

Please share!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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31 Responses to Disaster. Vocations. Identity. Liturgy. Prayer. ACTION ITEM and Fr. Z rants.

  1. Charles E Flynn says:

    Fortunately, there is one bright spot in this bleak picture from Ireland:

    For the first time in nearly 50 years, only the traditional Latin Mass to be offered in Irish Diocese

  2. Zephyrinus says:

    Dear Fr.
    AMEN. AMEN. AMEN.

  3. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    There were masses celebrated in Limerick last Tuesday, here: http://institute-christ-king.ie

    It’s rather poor that the Irish Times article ignored this.

  4. Mike says:

    Just pestered Father and will continue to do so. (Your continued prompting will continue to be helpful.) Thanks!

  5. ajf1984 says:

    Greater involvement in parish life by the laity? Yes–an absolute must in areas of ‘declining vocations.’ Having the laity lead prayer services/quasi-liturgies/etc. is not the right way to do this! For heaven’s sake, let the laity exercise their own talents to help Father out!

    Are you a CPA, or perhaps a retired MBA? Offer to oversee the parish finances so that Father’s time is freed up so he can do what only priests can do! Are you an experienced office professional? Offer to remove at least some of the administrative burden from Father–meet with contractors if the church’s roof is in need of repair, act as liaison to your parish school, etc.

    We laity are in the world for a reason. Ours is not to supplant the ordained clergy by leading sacrifice-less liturgies in place of the Mass. Let’s use the talents we have been given as laity to help ease the burden on our priests.

    And, by all means, we must continue to pray for and encourage vocations from among the ranks of our own children, first and foremost. God did not call me to serve at the altar, He called me to raise five sons (and counting…) to be faith-filled men and, God-willing, He will call one, some, or all of them to His priesthood!

    Now how do I get down from this soapbox?

  6. majuscule says:

    Our Lady of Knock, pray for our priests. Please help us to remember to pray for vocations.

  7. Aquinas Gal says:

    “Choose from our homes” That means parents who support vocations to the priesthood (and to the religious life) in their own children, pray for that, and encourage them. How many vocations are lost due to the opposition of parents!

  8. chantgirl says:

    Let’s be honest here. Some dioceses have been held hostage for the furthering of a liberal agenda which would like to see the abolition of priestly celibacy, and the advent of womyn priests and deacons. In some dioceses, the priest shortage is a manufactured crisis, designed to force the church to adopt emergency measures to cope with the situation.

    In other words, if all of the normal heterosexual devout men who apply to a seminary in a certain area are systematically blocked, run out, punished, abused, and denied ordination, a priest shortage is bound to exist. Plus, as an added bonus, most of the seminarians who are kept in such a seminary and make it to ordination are not going to make the best priests. This is where the hostage situation comes in; now that the laity have few priests they are told they won’t have access to the sacraments unless they are willing to accept lay-run “liturgies”, married priests, women deacons etc.( Nevermind that only priests can make confession and the Eucharist available.)

    Manufactured crisis, and a good motivation for me to get to Adoration tonight.

  9. jflare says:

    When I read articles like this, I begin to wonder about the…situational awareness…of many people. If the bishop requires every priest of his diocese to attend a seminar outside the diocese, …there will not be priests left to offer Mass that day, even if he has numerous priests. Then again, if they are horrified by some parishes only able to offer Mass every other week, they might want to realize that this has been the fact of life for many rural diocese here in the ‘States for a few decades.
    Sadly, I suspect the same causes are in play: Poor formation in offering Mass, poor formation in understanding what the priesthood IS, long-standing effort to “laicize” priests and “clericalize” laity, and the list goes on.
    If bishops allow everyone to behave as though faith has little meaning, they’ll wind up with few adherents because most will believe it irrelevant.

  10. rmichaelj says:

    I wonder how many seminarians in these diocese which are struggling to provide priests, were kicked out for being too “rigid”? I have been told in some dioceses there is still a psychological profile which has to be passed before becoming a priest- and that certain buzzwords have to be avoided.

    It would be interesting to know if the traditional seminaries are having to limit their numbers because they have no space/funds to put them, or if they just aren’t getting qualified applicants. If it is the former, could the traditional seminaries ramp up and provide priests to these beleaguered parishes (assuming the bishops/laity would accept them)?

  11. Danteewoo says:

    One unspoken, even denied, but yet underlying premise of the last fifty years of ecumenism is that everybody goes to Heaven. So why be a priest? And who really needs the Church, anyway?

  12. Antiquorum says:

    Before we started attending the Latin Mass (thank God we have one here), the pastor of the parish we were attending would constantly harp on the lack of vocations, and that there weren’t enough to continue. He was absolutely right, but then I look around at the state of the liturgy in the diocese, and it’s no wonder there’s a shortage of vocations.

    Just about every mass I’ve attended at different parishes could be the poster child for the unfortunate state of things across the church. When my wife and I first attended the latin mass, once it was finished, we walked to the care in silence. And we set in the car in silence for a few minutes. We were floored at the beauty, the reverence, the mystery. We were totally lost of course, but also enthralled.

    I’ve also wondered how many priests in our diocese have been handicapped and not allowed to embrace reverence and tradition in the mass. I know of at least one priest who I’d bet money would love more elegance and such, but in the current climate of things, it may be prudent for him to wait. This is speculation, but judging from the way nearly every mass is said here, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the truth.

    In my old parish, I got the feeling that part of the problems stemmed from some lay people on staff and volunteers, had too much influence on things. As our illustrious leader has said, restore the liturgy, and families make vocations.

  13. Imrahil says:

    While the general situation is probably bad enough,

    if I read the messages correctly, the particular problem in this particular situation seems to be the fact that the diocese scheduled a development training session, or spiritual exercises, or something for her entire presbyterate on one day.

  14. Athelstan says:

    [NB: That’s for Ireland not for just Limerick.]

    In fact, from what i can make out, Limerick has no seminarians at present. (Possibly it has one. There is some conflicting information. Either way, that is a die state of affairs. It ordained its last priest in 2014.) It would certainly not be the only Irish diocese with no seminarians at present.

    But rather than try to grow more crops, Limerick seems to be following a common diocesan strategy in much of the West: just find a way to reduce caloric intake. See how edible grass and mud might be.

  15. Chrisc says:

    Chant girl is correct, in many places this is a manufactured crisis. I had a friend who wished to enter seminary for the diocese of Kerry about 4 years ago. He met with the then vocations director, who informed him that they ‘don’t do seminarians anymore’ and that he should look for some respectable work. I think they have had around 2 seminarians in the last 10 years.

  16. arga says:

    Some priests and bishops WANT the priest shortage to worsen, in the belief that that will force the Church to ordain married men and women.

  17. There’s never a Mass on Good Friday in any year. I can understand what the bishop is trying to do in Limerick. Irish Catholics who actually practice their faith are used to having Mass available everyday and often at various times in the day. In my previous community we offered four Masses a day and there were four other churches within easy walking distance offering a similar service. Ireland is a small country and one is never far away from a church. The laity will not wake up to the crisis until it affects them personally.

    While I am sypathetic to the need to restore the Liturgy [Everything come from and goes back to worship.] I think the more immediate root of this problem is one of obedience specifically in the area of contraception. One can trace the decline in the Irish birth rate (the more accurate Net Feritility Rate) from the invention of oral contraceptives, through their legalisation in the late 70’s and down to the nadir of the late 80’s or early 90’s. It did rise back up but not to replacement rate. It’s the same in Ireland as it is across the Western world: we are contracepting ourselves into collapse. It is just more obvious in Catholic countries because it becomes visible in a want of vocations. A ‘Catholic’ society cannot hope to get back up to replacement rate while also supporting clergy and religious vocations at the very least while it is still allowing contraception. Are the Irish going to give that sacrament of the devil up? Not that I can see. We are living in cloud cuckoo land. No one wants to face up to that problem in Ireland yet.

    Even where there are vocations the quality is not great. There are plenty of those who simply haven’t got what it takes to be a priest or religious. The Dominicans have been doing well but their success is at the cost of all the rest of the religious and diocesan.

    Prayers are not enough. [No one suggested that prayers were “enough”.] There will be very few if any vocations until we stop ignoring God’s plan. As a wise fellow Capuchin told me “the Lord will not give His blessing to disobedience”.

  18. Argument Clinician says:

    I was in a sacramental theology class today, discussing the nature of the sacrament of orders. It was generally pretty good. Toward the end, the lecturer brought up the role of celibacy in the priesthood, and this led to the topic of admitting “viri probati” to orders in places where there are too few priests to meet the sacramental needs of the faithful. (E.g. ordaining married men to offer the Mass in newly-evangelized places, where the culture of priestly vocations hasn’t had time to take root.)

    As we were discussing this point after class, one of the men pointed out that, at least in established churches (as in Ireland, the US, etc.), there is not a shortage of priests so much as a lack of faith in the Eucharist. If the faithful really believe in the Eucharist, then some of them will realize God’s call to become priests to continue offering the sacrifice of the Mass and bringing the sacraments to His people. Ireland, France, the US: we don’t have a shortage of priests, but a shortage of the truly faithful! So yes, of course pray for priestly vocations–that’s a very direct way to encourage vocations from among the faithful–but also we need priests who will preach the truth of the sacraments, and especially the Eucharist.

  19. Peter J. says:

    Having read a wonderful story about Msgr. Schuler and St. Agnes Parish in the Wanderer many years ago, a great desire arose within me to visit that great parish. During the summer of 1989 I was one of nine seminarians who traveled from the East Coast to attend a Latin Liturgy Convention at St. Agnes. I count it as one of the most important “encounters” of my life. My friends and I met the great Msgr. Schuyler and were the recipients of his warm and wonderful hospitality. We also met the then seminarian John Zuhlsdorf. One of the blessings which came from that encounter all those years ago was discovering the “prayer for vocations” which Fr. Z speaks about in this post.

    Presently I serve as the pastor of a parish founded in the early 1890s. This parish has only ever had one priest come from its ranks 30+ years ago. I am happy to report that we’ve been using the prayer for vocations which Fr. Z mentions and it has produced some very good fruits. Two years ago two young men entered the seminary, a third fellow has applied for entrance next year, a college student has spoken to me about the possibility of entering the seminary following his graduation and a few of the high school boys in the parish are interested in the possibility of priesthood.

    I cannot speak highly enough about the “Prayer for Vocations.” I’ve used it for years in the various parishes in which I have served and have seen its effectiveness. Fr. Z is spot on with everything he has said in this post. May we all recall the wonderful priestly example of Msgr. Schuler and follow his example in actively promoting priestly vocations.

  20. chantgirl says:

    Br. Tom Forde OFM Cap- I agree that contraception plays a huge part of the vocations crisis. However, everywhere I have gone that the EF is offered well, the pews are full of families with small children. I don’t think that the vocations crisis can be unhinged from the crisis in our worship. I personally know people who would not have as many children as they do if they had not found the EF. They have said that while they wanted children, the EF gave them courage and grace to go beyond what they thought they would be able to handle. Also, when you get a number of families who are trying to swim upstream in the same parish, they tend to buoy each other’s courage to have more children. They also tend to form a network of support for each other.

    Where our worship is sterile, we tend to find aging congregations and a lack of vocations, and where it is reverent and robust, we tend to find the opposite. It’s possible that faithful Catholics are just drawn to faithful worship, but it’s also the case that proper worship feeds the faithful to support them making the choice to be faithful to Christ’s more difficult teachings. In many places, the Church could do much better to support families who are being generous. In most places, Catholic schools are out of reach for most large Catholic families due to cost. In places where homeschooling is legal, it is often the only option for Catholic families who can’t afford Catholic schools and don’t want their children indoctrinated in the public schools. I’m primarily speaking about America because I don’t know what the situation is like in Ireland.

    Finally, I am convinced that when priests are faithful, they will “reproduce” in the spiritual order by begetting vocations. Somehow, the Mass, and the obedience of priests and laity to God’s law interact to produce fertile ground for vocations. I would guess that since the Eucharist is the source and summit of our life, that all graces, including the grace of vocations, would spring foremost from the Mass well said.

  21. Magdalena says:

    It saddens me that consecrated virgins are not also sought in this prayer, for they are nonetheless sought by Our Lord and consecrated by His Church whether or not they live in religious communities. They serve many in their dioceses by prayer, the work of the love of God. Perhaps another edition of the prayer card may be undertaken. [With another card maybe. Not this one. Also, note the DATE of that prayer.]

  22. Supertradmum says:

    First reason for the close extinction of priests in Ireland—contraception……one or two kids or none. Large families create vocations…one learns how to serve.

    Two, contraception….again. When parents and grandparents in parishes complain about the lack of priests, I ask, “Where are your children and grandchildren?”

    Three, contraception….this mentality stops family rosaries and taking children to daily Mass and adoration….holy parents create holy priests……

  23. G1j says:

    In our Catholic Community of 5 parishes here in WNY, we prayed weekly, for an increase in vocations, to the priesthood, diaconate, and all religious life, UNTIL, there was an outcry from a small portion of the laity that the prayer was too lengthy and should no longer be prayed before the recessional hymn at the conclusion of the Saturday Vigil Mass, and Sunday morning Mass. We haven’t prayed it since. I pray for the Church every day, and also for our priests. Our Church is in trouble, and it seems as though many do not care. Thank you Father Z, it is comforting to know that we have priests that are guiding us in a direction that will one day bear fruit for our faith.

  24. Sword40 says:

    Here in my corner of the USA, our local Catholic parish is comprised of 6 churches. The Pastor has one parochial vicar and one retired priest (with a light case of dementia). Our little church, which was established in 1838, has no Sunday Mass. They do have a Saturday night vigil and a Wednesday evening Mass. attendance has dropped from about 200 to near 50.

    My wife and I drive the 80 miles to an FSSP parish, which is thriving, every Sunday and Holy Day.
    The FSSP has given us a glimmer of hope for the future.

  25. V. says:

    I was born and raised in Ireland and now live in the United States. I went back home for a visit two years ago and was absolutely appalled at all the signs promoting the same sex marriage amendment which was later voted in. These signs were put up right beside Cathedrals and Churches all over the country, especially on the East Coast. And they were put up so high that they couldn’t be removed without a crane. A very professional job indeed. And, a few weeks later a lesbian living in Wales told me that she had worked to send ex-pats over to Ireland to vote on that amendment. Ireland sold its soul to the European Union in return for an open market, and then they were intimidated into voting for divorce, same sex unions, abortion, etc.
    There are still a few wonderful priests in my old parish in County Mayo, and God bless them – they have their work cut out for them.

  26. Nan says:

    In my diocese, that happens every other year. All the diocesan priests take off for a few days. The Marist fathers, Jesuits, Dominicans, etc. Retired priests and priests studying here from other dioceses are around.

    It very much depends on father’s relationships with other priests, whether there’s Mass at the cathedral. The old rector found priests to cover. The current rector not so much. He apparently doesn’t realize how horrifying it is that the cathedral would miss a regularly scheduled Mass.

  27. Nan says:

    The funny thing is that Ireland populated U.S. parishes with its surplus priests, to the point that there are a ton of priests born in Ireland and buried in the US.

  28. FloridaJoan says:

    Our mission , “… should we choose to accept it …”, is to pray for vocations to the priesthood and especially for holy, faithful priests . Yesterday, in the confessional line, I met a seminarian for whom I promised to pray. Mother Mary, we have great need of thy intercession for our priests .

    [Do indeed pray for the seminarian. Also, it might be best not to “recognize” people in line.]

  29. OldLady says:

    I take comfort in the U.S. monks who live now at a monastery in Ireland, guided there by God’s hand. It is a sorrowful thing to read of how far the Irish have slipped, but are we that far behind them? Fr. Z, you reminded me that that we should not take for granted what we have here in this country but should be prepared for more difficult times. Honestly, these days I feel like “Catholic” will become a dirty word in the future. I do not want to imagine a world without the Eucharist.

  30. Patricius says:

    Another inaccuracy in the Irish Times article, Fr. Z: it claims that there are 55 seminarians studying at the National Seminary, St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth; this is incorrect – there are only about 35 men studying for diocesan priesthood there at the moment. I would confidently say that a paper such as the Irish Times would not deliberately exaggerate the number of seminarians, so that figure is coming from elsewhere…

    The seminary has been embroiled in controversy for several years – most recently in 2015, when a number of seminarians in one class had their formation thwarted because they were considered too “orthodox”, and in 2016 where a seminarian was expelled after he reported the existence of a homosexual subculture in the seminary. No wonder there are now less than forty men studying there for the ENTIRE island of Ireland – many men with genuine vocations will not go there in the first place, while orthodox seminarians are either shown the door or eventually leave because they cannot stand the oppressive liberal and un-Catholic atmosphere which pervades the place. On top of all of this, we have bishops who appear not to want vocations to the priesthood. Imagine, there are dioceses in the U.S. which have 3% of the Catholic population of Ireland have more seminarians – is it just co-incidence that these happen to be orthodox, faithfully Catholic dioceses, whose bishops give clear leadership?!

  31. jtmohr52@gmail.com says:

    Father Z,
    Our diocese in St Pete FL started Eucharistic adoration right after XMAS 2005. Our first seminarian at St Stephen’s CC in Valrico/Riverview was in the middle of Junior year of HS. 18 months later he committed to the seminary. His first Mass was May 2016. Finally St Stephen has produced a priest after about 28 years.
    Jonathan’s ordination is being followed by four more seminarians (two diocesan and two order), one of whom has been or should be ordained this year. As you already figured out, our church’s continuous Eucharistic Adoration on Wednesday evenings must have been helpful in asking Our Lord to bring forth these five young men.
    Eucharistic Adoration! It works every time it’s tried.
    v/r,
    Jerry