If you are actively discerning a vocation to the Priesthood, Diaconate, Consecrated Life, or Marriage and you are looking for information to help in your discernment, BE SURE TO CHECK the section at the bottom of the right sidebar for the "labels" on all posts. By clicking on one of these labels it will take you to a page with all posts containing that subject. You will also find many links for suggested reading near the bottom of the right sidebar. Best wishes and be assured of my daily prayers for your discernment.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI - Safeguard the Family Founded On Marriage

VATICAN CITY, 27 DEC 2009 (VIS) - Before praying the Angelus on this Sunday of the Holy Family, the Pope reminded the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square that "God wished to reveal Himself by being born in a human family, and hence the human family has become an icon of God.

"God is Trinity", he added. "He is communion of love, and the family - with all the difference that exists between the Mystery of God and His human creature - is an expression thereof which reflects the unfathomable mystery of God-Love. ... The human family is, in a certain sense, the icon of the Trinity because of the love between its members and the fruitfulness of that love".

Commenting then on today's Gospel reading which narrates how the twelve-year-old Jesus stayed behind in the Temple without His parents' knowledge, the Pope explained that "Jesus' decision to remain in the Temple was above all the fruit of his intimate relationship with the Father, but also the fruit of the education received from Mary and Joseph".

And he went on: "Here we may catch a glimpse of the authentic meaning of Christian education. It is the result of a collaboration that must always be sought between the educators and God. The Christian family is aware that children are God's gift and project. Hence it cannot consider them as it own possessions but, serving God's plan through them, is called to educate them in the greatest of freedoms which is that of saying 'yes' to God in order to accomplish His will".

The Holy Father them addressed some remarks to participants in the Feast of the Holy Family which is being celebrated today in Madrid, Spain. "God, by having come into the world in the bosom of a family, shows that this institution is a sure way to meet and know Him, and a permanent call to work for the loving unity of all people. Thus, one of the greatest services which we as Christians can offer our fellow men and women is to show them the serene and solid witness of a family founded upon marriage between a man and a woman, defending it and protecting it, because it is of supreme importance for the present and future of humankind.

"In truth, the family is the best school in which to learn to live the values that dignify individuals and make peoples great. There too sufferings and joys are shared, as everyone feels cloaked in the affection that reigns in the home by the mere fact of being members of the same family".

Benedict XVI prayed to God that family homes may always experience "this love of total commitment and fidelity which Jesus brought into the world by His birth, nourishing and strengthening it with daily prayer, the constant practice of virtue, reciprocal understanding and mutual respect.

"I encourage you - trusting in the maternal intercession of Mary Most Holy, Queen of Families, and the powerful protection of St. Joseph, her husband - tirelessly to dedicate yourselves to this beautiful mission the Lord has placed in your hands. Be sure of my closeness and affection", he concluded, "and I pray you carry a very special greeting from the Pope to those of your loved ones who suffer greatest need and difficulties".

Catholic seminary has 20-year enrollment peak

St. Meinrad, in Indiana, is ahead of national averages.

From The Associated Press
ST. MEINRAD — The nation's sixth-largest Catholic seminary is reporting its highest enrollment in two decades as more men flock to the southern Indiana campus to pursue the priesthood.

The influx of students has left the St. Meinrad School of Theology straining to find classroom and living space for students at the campus, 65 miles west of Louisville, Ky.

St. Meinrad, which trains future priests for dioceses in Kentucky, Indiana and across the nation, began the year with 121 students - its highest number since 1988.

Church leaders and seminarians said a combination of spiritual and practical factors are behind the growth.

The Archdiocese of Louisville's seminarian ranks were all but depleted in 2002 and 2003 at the peak of the child sexual abuse scandal involving numerous priests.

Some of the seminarians at St. Meinrad said that crisis actually prompted them to consider the priesthood. They said they believed the church would avoid repeating such scandals through more rigorous screening and training of would-be priests.

“I think that there is a sense of hope in the church” now, said Adam Carrico, of Pewee Valley, Ky., who is studying at St. Meinrad for the Louisville archdiocese.

“We've experienced some troubles,” he said, “but I think we've learned from what happened in the past, and there's kind of a sense we can move forward and there is a tomorrow.”

Part of St. Meinrad's growth also reflects increasing arrangements with dioceses around the country to train their seminarians.

Both the Louisville archdiocese and the seminary are ahead of the national average in seminarian enrollment, which has remained largely the same in the last 15 years as the Catholic population has grown, while the ranks of priests have aged and declined.

Louisville Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz credited archdiocese leaders for starting to reverse declines in seminarians even before he arrived in 2007 from Knoxville.

When Kurtz arrived, six men from the archdiocese were starting in seminary.

Kurtz said there's “no magic number” for recruitment goals, but he said ordaining four or five priests per year would “be a great blessing” toward easing the priest shortage.

The archdiocese has two priests working with recruits in addition to their parish duties.

Kurtz holds an annual “dinner with the archbishop” to encourage youths to consider joining the priesthood or religious orders. This year, the event drew hundreds of teenagers, the most in recent memory.

Jerry Byrd, a student from the Indianapolis archdiocese, said his path to the seminary began more than a decade ago as he converted to Catholicism as a teenager.

“My whole concept of a priest was based on priests I knew,” he recalled. “They were old and bald and slow.”

But one such priest told a class of people converting to Catholicism that “we need young men” in the priesthood, because “without the priests, we don't have the sacraments; if we don't have the sacraments, then we're not a church.”

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dear New Visitors and Long Time Visitors,

Obviously there has been a huge gap in posts here on Roman Catholic Vocations. I pray it will not continue indefinitely, but for the time being the demands of life have made it necessary to put something on the back burner. God willing posting will resume in the near future.

Till then, have a Merry Christmas!

Roman Catholic Vocations

Video from Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations