When it comes to training our military forces, we don’t ask bankers to handle the task. Or when we want to teach men and women to be the best doctors they can be, they aren’t sent to law school.
Then, who better to show seminarians what the life of a priest is like? That’s why part of the formation process in almost every diocese is having young men spend time in parishes engaging in various types of ministry and “rubbing elbows” with experienced priests. For an example of how important this is, click here.
I remember with great fondness the “pastoral year” I spent at St. Rose of Lima parish in Portland, Oregon, under the excellent tutelage of Fr. Richard Hunegar. I gained experience ministering to the sick, the homebound, youth, young adults, and so much more. And I became St. Rose’s “favorite son” in the process.
If you or someone you know has a seminarian spending a summer or an entire year in your parish, it’s a fantastic opportunity to show your support of his priestly vocation. While he may or may not go on to be ordained, it will be something he’ll remember forever, and will be time very well spent.
As you’ve read on this blog, vocation directors have let us know that it’s important for prospective candidates for the priesthood to have access to accurate information about the priesthood and the teachings of the Church. That would seem to go without saying, but I think they might be implicitly stating that the information which has been presented to young men in the recent past perhaps hasn’t always been as solid and dependable as it could be.
What these young men need to know, among other things, is that:
Armed with accurate information, there’s a greater likelihood that a young man will give serious consideration to pursuing a vocation to the priesthood. After all, they’re seeking the truth above everything else. When the truth about the priesthood is presented to them – and lived out joyfully by our priests – the result will be a continued increase in priestly vocations!
Additional reading on this topic: John Paul II, Letter To Priests For Holy Thursday, 1995
I had the tremendous blessing of being a guest on Catholic Answers Live Monday evening. Having been the host of the show for about ten years (until March of this year), it was great being back on the show and interacting with the listeners as I talked about the priesthood, vocations, and Vocation Boom in particular. In case you missed the broadcast, you can listen to it here.
Among the callers to the show were:
During this Year for Priests, let’s all remember our priests and seminarians – and those we think might have a vocation – in a special way in our prayers. I believe the graces from this holy year will be experienced for years and years to come. God bless Pope Benedict for proclaiming the Year for Priests!
So, you think you’re not worthy to be a priest, huh? Perfect! Because no one is worthy of such an awesome vocation.
Yet, Jesus continues to call men of all different backgrounds to join Him in the priesthood. Reminds me of the quote from St. Therese – “God doesn’t call those who are worthy, He calls those whom it pleases Him to call.”
No matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, you should never allow yourself to think that God could not possibly call you to the priesthood. That’s a temptation from the devil.
I recently came across a great video featuring Brian, a seminarian at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. It’s a beautiful personal testimony filled with details about how Brian had started out down the wrong path, but the grace of God got a hold of him and now, God-willing, he’s on his way to the priesthood!
This can be a great lesson for all of us because we all know young men – maybe even you – who are wandering, searching, not yet ready to trust God and seek His will for their lives. Give ’em time.
And pray for them.