Growth in Vocation

I would like to highlight Christopher White’s recent blog post in First Things. He wrote an insightful post about the growth of vocations.

Here is an excerpt from his blog:

In our forthcoming book, Beyond the Catholic Culture Wars (Encounter Books), my coauthor and I survey a number of dioceses across the United States that are experiencing an upward trend in their vocation rates. The two common characteristics of these dioceses is that they are led by bishops that are committed to a bold and courageous defense of orthodox Catholicism, and they are making vocations a number one priority within their dioceses through building strong vocation teams that are actively recruiting new priests. This is certainly the case in New York, where Cardinal Dolan’s enthusiastic defense of Church teachings has been showcased to the entire nation as a result of his battle with the Obama administration over the recent HHS mandate. But, it is also evident in the great work that Fr. Luke Sweeney is doing as vocations director of New York that I can personally attest to, as I have witnessed his efforts over the past few years. While seminary structural changes limited the ordinations this year, here’s what critics of the New York archdiocese have failed to mention: New York will likely ordain eight men to the priesthood next year, five men in 2014, and ten or more new priests in 2015.

You can read his whole blog post here.

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11 Responses to “Growth in Vocation”

  1. Mary says:

    The survey of the 2012 Ordination Class just released through the USCCB says that 75% of the men ordained in 2012 were altar servers. 3 out of 4. Wow.

    Isn’t it time for the Church to restore this special ministry exclusively to boys… to call them “altar boys”…to acknowledge that God uses their participation in his holy sacrifice to draw them to him, very often to the priesthood.

  2. Irene says:

    “led by bishops that are committed to a bold and courageous defense of orthodox Catholicism”

    I had thought that all of our Bishops were committed to orthodox Catholicism.

    And ix-nay on banning altar girls; I have two daughters, they need to see women and girls on the altar.

  3. AndyP/Doria2 says:

    Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln Nebraska has had full seminaries for years. Orthodoxy and Tradition are the key. Much can be learned from this great Bishop.

    Fr. Sweeney does excellent work. So does Father Benedict Groeschell of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. God bless them all.

  4. Mary says:

    Irene, why do your daughters need to see women and girls on the altar?

  5. Irene says:

    Because, Mary, my little girls love their Church very much and they love participating as much as they can in the Mass. I think what you said about boys above is equally true for little girls,” that God uses their participation in his holy sacrifice to draw them to him”. And isn’t that a wonderful thing?

  6. mike robinson says:

    This is as good a spot as any to send a message to the Cardinal…if we are talking about our future as Church.
    I cannot hold it in.
    I have to admit you really had me dazzled. You really drew me in. For many months I’ve
    been calling you “the Holy Magnet.” You really had me fooled.
    On the day before you were declared a Cardinal, you gave a wonderful, impassioned
    address to your fellow bishops and spoke of the New Evangelization, of how to reach out
    to the growing number of people who can no longer see how Jesus Christ and His Church
    are One. As I read it, I keep cheering, Yes!…Yes!…Yes! A hearty Yes as you speak of
    the humility that flows from confessing the Church’s need for interior conversion, the
    very marrow of evangelization! WOW! But then you said something comical. You said
    that “the swagger and arrogance of triumphalism in the Church died with Vatican II.”
    My dear shepherd, I find this so very frightening! How can such a brilliant man make
    such a sentence? But, the same brilliant man created a policy in Milwaukee that was
    just as wrong and frightening.
    In a wonderful film scene Woody Allen’s selfless character, Danny Rose, is listening
    to Tina’s philosophy of life. Pure selfishness…get the other guy before he gets you…
    Danny asks, “This is a Philosophy of Life!? It sounds like Murder Incorporated!” And
    so I have to ask you, “THIS IS A POLICY BEFITTING THE BODY OF CHRIST?!” Give a
    man who has molested your child (for these were YOUR children) $20,000 and tell him
    to scram?!?!What does this say for the future of the Catholic Church, if the most in-
    fluential and powerful Prelate in the Western Hemisphere can think this way? Who was
    he protecting? There were little lambs out there where you told the wolves to scram.
    How can you not smell the old rotten stench of triumphalism at it worst, as you sought
    to protect nothing but the holy, royal Roman Catholic priesthood? That is what was the
    core of triumphalism, some misguided notion that priests were above normal men.
    How can such an intelligent man not see the evil in this? And are millions and millions
    of us fathers of innocent children not intelligent, if we say we find it repulsive?? This
    article above? about vocations and orthodoxy and tradition? Do you really think it is
    something to brag about? I lived in Rome some twenty years after the Council. I sat
    in the piazza day after day and watched “the swagger of arrogance” until it made me
    sick. Nobody swaggered like the young men of the North American, known for their
    orthodox tradition. How can you possibly stand before the spiritual leaders of the free
    world, and claim that it “died with Vatican II?” I was a victim of clergy abuse, but I
    got therapy and moved on. I tell people everyday that for every one rotten priest
    there are 999 good ones. I never looked for a payoff. I think it’s all horrible. I stay
    with the Church, as Christ is the core, the diamond in this dirt, the Sacred Heart of
    it all!!! Everyday I try to join your “new evangelism” and bring people back to that Heart. But you guys keep making it harder and harder and harder for us. This idea
    at the core of triumphalism is far far worse an abuse than the whole horrible sexual scandal!!! The only times that Jesus RAGED were when he confronted the priests,
    “the leaders, the shepherds!!” How can you not see the hypocrisy of the Pharisees
    in all of this…all over again. Why should there be vocations to this madness until it
    is cleaned up, or AT LEAST admitted. Come on, the greatest river in the world is
    Not long ago – definitely way after Vatican II – I was a DRE for the Archdiocese.
    My first three months were great! The pastor was a joy to work with. But on the day
    of our Christmas pageant, the woman who had conducted it forever put in the front
    pew the family of the baby who was the “living Jesus.” When the pastor came and
    had to sit in the second pew, he was enraged. He held it in, however, until our weekly
    team meeting the next day. We were forced to endure the most foul “triumphalistic”
    tantrum I had ever seen (and I am from the pre-Vatican II Era) All that sticks in my
    mind is how he said, “Why didn’t I just become a truckdriver?!” Is there something
    wrong with a truckdriver? Triumphalism is not dead, Cardinal Dolan. Get it through
    your head! I am a Roman Catholic, baptized, confirmed, priest, prophet, prince…or
    so I’ve been told. Called to bring any lost sheep I might happen upon back to You.
    But, crying right now, Can you tell me why I should? Will he or she be really safe
    there? mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually safe there? I wonder.
    Now that I have let it out, I don’t know what will happen to my words? It is likely
    that they will be censured and never get near your face. If I find some money or interest, I might try to put them somewhere else. I would love to have a response.
    My email address is, of course, here.
    might put them in other form of the media

  7. joshua says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,

    One of the most in your face type declarations against church teaching is nuns and priests not wearing their habits. Especially nuns belonging to the LCWR. Allowing the wearing of lay clothing in public has been the beginning of the end for nuns and part of the individualism born in the 1960’s hip culture. Look at every great team, and you will see uniforms, dress codes, colors that say they are part of something bigger than the individual. The uniform wearing is done in Catholic schools, in sports, in places of work. When a nun or a priest wears a lay clothing in public while speaking to us about the Catechism, what is coming out of his or her mouth is different from the visually stronger subliminal message that person is sending to us. I am sure that there is a correlation between nuns and priests not wearing habits and attendance in schools and churches. Habit clothing is like the stitch that keeps an ancient religious organization together. If you want to break up an ancient religious organization allow them to dress anyway they want. Eventually they will make up their own rules about little things, and then bigger things and in the end… Well, you are witnessing the end. May God Protect You and the Church from its enemies.

  8. joshua says:

    There is nothing wrong with women participating in mass. But I think that this is were we are getting confused. The altar is not a stage where you want to be recognized by those attending, for your hard work, or intelligence, or for loving the Church. The altar is where Mass takes place. It is where a ritual is retold for us to appreciate and pray. We mothers and fathers need to teach our kids about humility. Children have to know that a team has many members and each of the members plays an important role that keeps the team together. Take one member of the team out or let one team member play the role of the other team member, and the team can easily unravel. Just like at home. We have a Dad and we have a Mom. They may look different but one without the other cannot produce a family. Right?.

    Can we agree that Christ was a man and that the Virgin Mary Mother of God was a woman, and that Christ the Son of God, sits at the right hand of the father? And that the Holy Virgin Mary ascended to Heaven to be with her Son our Lord Jesus Christ, and our Father our God?

    I often close my eyes and picture what the scene must have been like when the Angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary to tell her that she carried the Son of God in her womb. Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. How beautiful it must have been. In paintings created by the great masters, we see the Virgin Mary kneeling and telling Gabriel that God’s will be done. The master painters have erred on how they have been painting this scene. I firmly believe that it was the Angel Gabriel who knelt in front of Mary. He hailed her. He must have knelt in front of her. How could a perfect Archangel, those most nearest to God of all Angels, perfectly aware of that moment, not kneel in front of the Mother of God? This virgin was chosen because she was pure and humble but to Gabriel, she was holy. She was the mother of God. The One that the angel Gabriel loved with perfection, without flaw. We can only imagine and ponder at the thought of what an Archangel does in the presence of God. Thinking about that moment brings tears to my eyes.The role of Mary in the church is nothing short of sacred and I will leave it to the educated to articulate. Without women there would be no Church. But even Mary understood that she carried the Son of God in her womb. The priest, a humble, imperfect, but holy man, is the only one that can represent the Son of Man during the Mass. Anything else being interpreted in the altar would be a serious sin against Holy Virgin Mary, the Mother, and her Son our Lord Jesus Christ. The altar is not the place where we feed our egos or where we teach our kids about current events, or social science. It is a most Holy place where the humble believers go through a ritual that was started by the Son of God, and is as ancient as the Church herself. May God Protect the Church from her enemies. She is attacked from all sides and by evil that hides and strikes cowardly from the shadows. May God give the wisdom to our Pope, and Church leaders to steer us through these troubled times. Amen

  9. Mary says:

    Sorry Irene, but I was talking specifically about the priesthood. I was addressing the call to be priests and the remarkable statistic that 75% of this year’s new priests reported they were once altar boys! Since only boys will be priests one day, I conclude that many boys receive the first seeds of their priestly vocation through altar service. We should celebrate this early planting and support the way God is working in boys to bring them to his “follow me” moment. Altar boys are all about the priesthood.

  10. Irene says:

    These comments bring home for me concerns about some of the negative consequences of encouraging more traditional practices. By including our little girls, we take nothing away from our little boys. It is not as if my daughters being altar servers means that a little boy can’t be one as well.

    I know that people who wish to attend a traditional Latin Mass in NYC, one where there are no women lectors or altar girls, can find one pretty easily. And they are most welcome to that kind of Mass if it brings them closer to Jesus. But why try and force those practices on all of the rest of us, who do not want that kind of liturgy?

    I think it is interesting (or rather, disturbing) that the Cardinal posts about ordination and the immediate comment is, yes ,and let’s eliminate altar girls.

    We all read the newspapers: we hear what’s happening with the religious sisters, with female theologians, with the Girl Scouts. So altar girls are next? Where does this end and what does it say about us and what we think about women?

  11. joshua says:

    Speaking of what it means to be a member of a team, and of sacrifice, humility, and of giving up our self-centered egos to help the team succeed. It’s interesting how prominent individuals pick up on Christian teachings, and come out with the idea or concept as if they were the originators or creators of the teachings. You would think that Our Lord should get mentioned for being the source of these teachings. David McCullough Jr, the son of Pulitzer Prize winning historian and English teacher at Wellesley High School gave a commencement speech at the high school in which he tells the kids that they are not that special. He repeats it a dozen or more times . The speech has gone viral. He is now being interviewed by all the major networks, including journalists, etc. In not one of the interviews by these highly respected journalists is there any reference to the true source of these teachings, to Our Lord Jesus Christ who teaches us that we have to look outside ourselves to be fulfilled, and that he told his disciples that to follow him meant giving up worldly goods. No reference to any of our Saints some of which were martyred and died for that principle. Not a mention of Blessed Mother Theresa and the life she lived in Calcutta. McCullough has taken the concept that there is more joy in giving than in receiving, that the world is not revolving around our little perfect immediate surroundings, and has bluntly said that we are not that special. How does this apply to Growth In Vocation? It is everything. This applies to our discussion of what we are doing in the Altar during Mass, that we are not there to feed our egos, to get immediate gratification, not to interpret anything except what was intended by Our Lord Jesus and our Almighty Father. However, Our Lord works in mysterious ways. Sometimes he uses unsuspecting individuals and in some cases even the enemies of the Church, to carry and deliver his message of love. Anything that can get our attention and allow us to contemplate on our blessings and the needs of the world around us is healthy. Maybe in thinking about McCullough’s speech, there will be some reference in our subconscious to what long ago that humble, and happy priest was telling us during the homily, or to what that nun that used to scare me was telling us during her Catechism class in grammar school, and finally, or to a passage in the Bible that was read to us at bedside so long ago. I am not that special, if I can remember this, I will be really happy. Thank you Lord Jesus. Thank you.