Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Vocations surge

~from The Catholic Review via Catholic Online (hat tip to Brad)
The vocations director said there are more young men inquiring about becoming priests than in previous years.

“We have 16- and 17-year-olds just beating down the door,” said Father Francik. “It gives me encouragement to see so many young people on fire for their faith. It gives us hope for the future.”

There are currently 26 men studying to become priests for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. They come from all parts of the archdiocese, and they include several international seminarians from Central and South America and one from Nigeria.

Last year’s incoming seminarian class stood at 13 – the biggest class in nearly two decades, according to Father Francik. He expects that this year’s class will also hit double digits.

The vocations director believes new archdiocesan efforts have helped renew interest in the religious life. They include programs like “Operation Genesis” and “Dare to Dream” – two daylong priesthood vocations camps for boys and teens. Cardinal William H. Keeler has also been very supportive, holding vocation suppers for young men considering the priesthood and serving as retreat master at annual discernment retreats – programs continued by Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien.

Encouragement need from parishes, schools, pastors, parents

Although parishes and schools have become more proactive about encouraging Catholics to consider becoming priests, sisters, brothers or deacons, Father Francik said there are still some that need to do more.

“Some of our parishes have three or four guys who are in the seminary and many have zero,” said Father Francik, noting that there are about 20 parishes represented among the men currently preparing for the priesthood.

He observed that if every parish could encourage just one man to consider the priesthood, more than 150 new priests might be ordained in the next several years.

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