Wednesday, April 25, 2007

UK Vocations seem to be on the rise

~from Zenit

The Catholic Church of England and Wales released statistics showing that the number of those entering seminary has increased for the fourth straight year.

In 2003 the figure stood at 28; last year this had risen to 44, bringing the total number of men studying for the priesthood for the dioceses of England and Wales to 150.

Father Paul Embery, director of the National Office for Vocations, welcomed the rise, but remained only cautiously optimistic.

"After several decades of decline in the number of those training for the priesthood, we have seen four consecutive years of growth, which is good news; however we have no guarantee that this growth will continue," he said.

Father Embery added, "After Pope John Paul II died we saw an increase of interest not only in the priesthood but in Catholic life in general. The challenge for the Church is to recognize this and build on it."

The recent immigration to the United Kingdom from European Union accession states, such as Poland, has boosted the Church's numbers there in the last few years. But according to Father Embery, as yet there has not been a large number of applications for priesthood or religious life from these groups.

"I think that when people first arrive in a country it takes some time to orientate oneself to the new culture, including the local Church," Father Embery explained. "Maybe in future years some of those who have moved to the United Kingdom might feel God calling them to serve as a priest or religious here."The Catholic Church of England and Wales released statistics showing that the number of those entering seminary has increased for the fourth straight year.

In 2003 the figure stood at 28; last year this had risen to 44, bringing the total number of men studying for the priesthood for the dioceses of England and Wales to 150.

Father Paul Embery, director of the National Office for Vocations, welcomed the rise, but remained only cautiously optimistic.

"After several decades of decline in the number of those training for the priesthood, we have seen four consecutive years of growth, which is good news; however we have no guarantee that this growth will continue," he said.

Father Embery added, "After Pope John Paul II died we saw an increase of interest not only in the priesthood but in Catholic life in general. The challenge for the Church is to recognize this and build on it."

The recent immigration to the United Kingdom from European Union accession states, such as Poland, has boosted the Church's numbers there in the last few years. But according to Father Embery, as yet there has not been a large number of applications for priesthood or religious life from these groups.

"I think that when people first arrive in a country it takes some time to orientate oneself to the new culture, including the local Church," Father Embery explained. "Maybe in future years some of those who have moved to the United Kingdom might feel God calling them to serve as a priest or religious here."

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