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Thursday, July 3, 2008

"Ads aim to draw more priests"

Catholic dioceses turn to TV in effort to recruit new leaders as numbers decline to crisis levels.

From The Detroit News

By Gregg Krupa

The music on the televised public service announcement sounds like heavenly, beckoning strings.

Words appear on the screen: "Religious life, making a difference, try it on." Then, the Rev. Rick Samyn talks about his answer to God's call to be a priest.

"How am I going to apply the gospel?" Samyn says, in the spot broadcast by the Archdiocese of Detroit. "I had a passion to make sense out of what it would be to be a Christian, what it is to apply the gospel."

Catholic dioceses like Detroit and Gaylord are increasing efforts to market the priesthood, hoping to prevail against secular trends and scandal, even as the number of priests dwindles to crisis levels. While some Catholics wonder who will provide the sacraments and religious counsel in the future and some advocate expanding the recruiting base beyond celibate men, the church hopes that a creative use of television and one-on-one meetings will increase the ranks of priests.

The televised marketing may help achieve the goal, but a national survey reveals that it rarely results in a candidate for the priesthood finalizing his decision. Much like the chum spread by fishermen, the television spots helps draw men to a greater awareness of the priesthood, while vocational directors and parish priests do the one-on-one meetings that, far more often, lead to commitments.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

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