|Fr. John speaks to the Grotto altar boys about vocations at their 2011 Holy Week retreat at the parish|
I've stated many times in the past that we are in the early stages of a vocation boom. I've also stated that young people, following the lead of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI in their Eucharistic and Marian devotion was a key.
Now see this bit of good news....
The typical member of the ordination class of 2011 is a 31-year cradle Catholic who prayed the Rosary and took part in Eucharistic adoration before entering seminary, according to a survey of 329 of the 480 men slated to be ordained to the priesthood in the United States this year. The survey was conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.
Read more interesting statistics which are bulleted at Catholic Culture: Typical new priest: 31-year-old who prays Rosary, takes part in adoration. The actual USCCB report can be found here.
Some might say that time spent praying a Rosary and in Eucharistic Adoration is time that could have been spent helping people. This is like suggesting that if you don't stop to fuel you can make it across the country faster. Sooner or later, you run out of gas.
This same line of argument was used against Mother Teresa's prayer habits. She spent about 4 hours in prayer every day. People said she could have saved even more people had she spent less time in prayer. This reduces one's work in the name of God down to human action as opposed to God's grace. Mother was able to "hear" what God wanted of her through that silent prayer, even when she experienced spiritual dryness.
From that prayer flows charitable works and almsgiving. I've seen this happen at my own parish which is very big on prayer, especially adoration and the Rosary. I know several in prison ministry at the parish, others who work with the poor, many who support crisis pregnancy centers and counsel young women often being forced by boyfriends and others into abortion clinics. Mother Teresa once said that if you want to find the poor, you don't need to come to India, look around you. I've witnessed our parish community come together many times for someone who suddenly found themselves in need.
This generation of young Catholics are much better prepared, and they are benefitting from a careful reading of Church documents rather than relying on what others say they communicate. So many things are attributed to Vatican II that were never in any documents of Vatican II and this generation of priests will be better prepared to address those things at the parish level.
Those who have taken enough interest in their faith to seek understanding on the "why" not only know what the Church teaches, but why she teaches it. They don't blindly follow along, not thinking for themselves as is sometimes alleged; they choose to inform their consciences and then live it out.
- Snapshot: 480 New Priests in 2011, Five Year Trend: Younger (+more cool stats) - Tom Peters
- For Your Vocation
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