This past weekend at Mass, the priest gave an amazing homily about the priesthood, more specifically practical ways we can encourage more young men to follow their call into the priesthood. I thought I would share his three suggestions (in bold) and how I think it applies to us in our ministries.
- Promote the importance of vocations, and how everyone has one.
Far too often we get stuck in the notion that promoting vocations means rounding people up for the priesthood or religious life. In reality, that’s not what it should be about. We should be working to help every student discover and understand their vocation, whatever that may be.
Are you teaching on vocations and calling? Are you praying regularly as a group for discernment? Do you spend time studying the stories of calling in Scripture (Abraham, Moses, the prophets, the Apostles, Paul)?
- Hold the priesthood in high esteem, we should not let the sins and shortcomings of individual priests tarnish value and integrity of the priesthood.
It’s not about pretending priests are perfect. It’s not about putting priests up on a pedestal. It’s about honoring the priesthood in a way that makes young men want to aspire to such greatness.
Do you always speak highly of the priests at your parish? Do you pray for your priests, both privately and with your students? Do you teach on the theology of priesthood and holy orders?
- Financially support the priesthood, specifically seminaries that are training future priests.
If our desire is more priests, then we need to make sure we our pouring into the men that express the desire to become priests. Financial burdens should never be a reason someone is unable to enter the priesthood.
Call up your diocesan vocations office and ask if there is a way you can “adopt a priest”. Find out how much it costs per month to educate a seminarian and take up weekly collections from your teens to contribute to that. It would be great if you could get a specific priest, hang up his photo and have him come visit your youth every couple of months.
Take a look at your ministry, are you promoting the priesthood? Both with intentional programs and in the culture of your community?