I have lately mused about vocations. Last Sunday was the Day of Prayer for Vocations. What I mean by vocations, by the way, is vocations to the priesthood. Yes, yes… I think about religious life as well. When I think of vocations, it isn’t generic, including ever sort of possible vocation. For me: it means priesthood.
Every knows that the plural of anecdote is “data”. Thus, I am gathering “data” that applications to seminaries are down. I would appreciate notes from Vocation Directors which I would keep entirely under wraps!
They will up, a few years ago. They seem to be going down now.
I saw a thought provoking post at the blog of my friend Fr. Ray Blake, the great PP of Brighton.
Secular clergy are unattractive to the young
I am told by a priest of the diocese that in Westminster diocese there are no ordinations to the diocesan priesthood this year but apparently -according to the com-box there are seven however in Buenos Aires, this year has only three, my own diocese has only two seminarians spread over the whole six year course, some diocese have no seminarians, some diocese have far more bishops (active and retired) than seminarians..
But my own rather odd little parish, ‘least of the cities of Judah’, prays regularly for three men who came here to Mass and were very much part of our parish. One is at one of our English Oratories, another has joined one of the Traditional priestly societies and yet another has joined the most ascetic monasteries in Britain.
One of the things that attracted these young men here is Old Mass, all three came to it, all three had a great love for it. It does seem to be a source of vocations. As one teen age lad said, “I don’t understand a word of it but at least it gives you a chance to pray”. Prayer, communion with Christ is the source of vocation.
Personally I found it easier to speak to young men about priesthood when Pope Benedict so often spoke about the great value and the significance of the priesthood and the Sacred Liturgy. Now, there seems to so many warnings to young priests, so much criticism of young priests, even suggestion they might be mentally ill, it makes it far less attractive, perhaps there is sense that maybe young men considering the priesthood might be better off being tender hearted social workers, rather than servants of the altar.
One of the things that is at the back of mind is that young men are certainly not choosing the secular or diocesan priesthood though some religious orders aren’t doing too badly, especially those with something of traditional about them.
In France, for most people it will be easier in ten years time to get to the Traditional Mass than the Novus Ordo.
For all the rather sad holding on to the 1970s of some of the most senior clergy this is not where the Church will be in ten years time.
Read the whole thing over there.
Good observations from Fr. Blake, to whom I send kudos.
It’s not rocket science. Again and again we see that traditional and reverent sacred worship, hard-identity priesthood, an open door, joy and a sense of humor, and lots of prayer draw men to the priesthood.
In my home parish we prayed for vocations to the priesthood and religious life at every Sunday Mass using this…
On this note… the Extraordinary Ordinary, Bp. Morlino of Madison, has been able to foster a large number of vocations for a mostly rural diocese. How does he do it? First, he asks men to think about the priesthood. Duh, right? He is supportive of his priests and seminarians. And he says Mass, including the Extraordinary Form, happily and often. Consider this:
Your Excellencies… THIS is how you do it.