We rejoice to have ordained three new priests for our diocese. I am confident that they shall be a great gift to our Church for many years to come.
Now the more difficult news. We still don’t have enough priests to fill the current openings. We have parishes without priests, and no extra priests to send there.
How can we be a church that better nurtures vocations to the priesthood? Imagine a young man growing up in the Church surrounded by adults who deeply love the Eucharist, who
are fiercely dedicated to growing in holiness, and who are zealous for the mission of the Church. I suggest that we would have to build a fence around the seminaries to keep them
from getting overrun with applicants.
The more Catholics demonstrate love for the Eucharist, the more someone could believe that it is worth dedicating his life to celebrating the Eucharist. Obviously, putting a high
priority on attending every Sunday and holy days is a good first step, and participating fully consciously, and actively is a second (see my recent articles on the subject; we can all grow
in that area). We can also learn more about its meaning. There is some great stuff on FORMED and there are some great books. Anything by Brant Pitre, Tim Grey, Edward Sri, or Scott Hahn is well worth reading (I especially love Edward Sri’s “Biblical Walk Through
the Mass” and Brant Pitre’s “Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist”. There is another book called “Music and Meaning in the Mass” by Annamarie Carinalli, and it looks from a
very different angle. Have you been to a weekday Mass just because it is a good thing? Even once a year? How about adoration when we have Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament? Yes, I know that schedules are hard, but if you can’t come once a week, how
about once a month? Every three months? Try once a year? The biggest step is usually the first one. You might find you need to do it more often. When we talk about the Mass, do we do it in a way that conveys awe, reverence, and love? This could help us grow in
How to grow in holiness in a huge topic, but think about how often during the course of the day we attend to the presence of God? Do we seek to have a well-rounded prayer life? There are many different ways to pray, and each one engages a different aspect of
ourselves. How many choices do we make in the course of the day that are attempts to put God first?
If someone sees the Church accomplishing great things, it is easier to believe that it is worthwhile giving his life to being a leader in the Church. We can all only do so much, but if we do what we can, I trust God will make it enough. How anxious are we to support and
participate in what our church is accomplishing? Or do we have to be coaxed? Do we give up if we are offended or frustrated? How good are we at cooperating with those who see things differently?
Each one of us can make a difference. If we are concerned about not enough priests, we can channel that concern into making our parishes more fertile ground for vocations. These are just some ideas. What others do you have?