Originally posted by "Sotto Voce" at Clerical Whispers Blog
The vocations director for Armagh archdiocese has said that concern about the country’s shortage of vocations fails to take into account a steady recovery in the number of people entering seminaries.
Speaking in the wake of Cardinal Sean Brady’s announcement of a reorganisation in his own Armagh archdiocese, Dundalk priest Fr Paddy Rushe said it is a “myth” that there is a lack of new people signing up for vocations.
"The problem is that when people sign up, it takes six or seven years for them to be ready,” he pointed out.
“We are only starting to see people emerge that signed up in 2001, which was a bad year for the Catholic Church as scandals broke and we were at the height of the Celtic Tiger” Fr Rushe said.
“So obviously, we got fewer numbers back then, but right now, for the first time in ten years, we have the highest number of people enrolling into vocations," he continued.
Fr Rushe said that if numbers of new recruits continues to rise, there will be an influx of new priests by 2014.
But he said that when this happens, Church structures that have had to be changed to cope with fewer priests should not be reversed.
"In 2014 we will see twice, if not three times as many new priests emerging”.
"The decline in numbers has brought some parishes into line -the way it used to be structured was as if we had the usual number of priests, but some parishes these days have only one priest, making it impossible for someone to take a holiday”.
“This had to change, but in the future when a parish will have more than one priest, there is no point changing it back to the way it was -we cannot change back just for numerical reasons," Fr Rushe said.
And he said the Church’s vocations drive was as pro-active and modern as that of secular employers and using up-to-date recruitment techniques.
“We are in the market more than ever these days recruiting and whatever everyone else is up to, we are doing the same.” he declared.
“We have a YouTube site, a website, we go to recruitment shows, whatever has to be done”.
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