Yesterday I saw a site called Why Not Priest? It’s a great looking site with a simple design. It has engaging videos on the priesthood and a place to ask questions about your calling.
Here’s one of the videos featured on the home page of Why Not Priest? called “Go Forth.”
One thing most priests cite as being instrumental in the development of their vocations was another priest, or adult associated with the Church, take an active interest in their calling.
And this is related to why there aren’t many men answering the call to the priesthood.
Fostering priestly vocations
A few weeks ago, my 9 year-old son told us he wanted to be a priest.
This has been an on-again/off-again thing since he was about five. He goes back and forth. Right now he’s pretty serious about it, though.
I don’t know what will happen with this. Whether he actually becomes a priest or not is mostly out of my hands.
What I can do though is nurture his inclinations and steer him toward places where he can ask questions and relate to others who have had similar experiences.
So, we’re having him talk to priests and ask them questions.
We went to the Why Not Priest? site and watched a few videos. My son was so excited! He said, “This makes me want to be a priest even more!” He also asked some questions. We haven’t gotten any responses back yet. Hopefully, we will soon.
The real truth about the shortage of priests
We have a shortage of priests, but I believe it’s not because God isn’t calling.
I think he’s calling more now than ever. The truth is there’s a shortage is in boys and/or young men who are able to listen.
They can’t hear the call because the world is drowning it out. Boys are exposed to sexual images too early. Movie stars and sports figures are terrible role models. And, making money is exalted as the highest calling.
On top of that, a large part of that deafening deluge comes from parents who don’t help their kids to listen or actively promote the priesthood as a great thing, something worth giving your life to.
You may not be able to change that, but catechists can change how kids perceive the priesthood in their classrooms.
Fostering vocations is part of the catechist’s job
One of the catechist’s jobs is promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Your attitudes and the way you talk about priests will register with your students.
If you’re positive and enthusiastic about priests, they’ll pick up on it. If you’re negative, they’ll get that too.
Think about it, you may be the only adult link to the parish those kids have. It’s possible their parents are indifferent about religion and don’t even think, much less talk, about it outside of Sunday.
Worse yet, one or both parents may be hostile toward the priesthood and Church teachings. But they bring the kids to religious education…and there they are in front of you.
Perhaps someone may ask you about feeling a call toward the priesthood. Why Not Priest? could be a good resource to send them to.
So what do you do to foster vocations in your classroom? Do you have other tactics? What about vocations to the religious life for girls?