Wow, did it feel good to travel again! What a blessing it was to speak to the priests of Kalamazoo, Michigan! It was another first for Vocation Ministry as we gave this workshop in-person AND virtually.
We ran an experiment, something I love to ask priests to do! See, according to the 2020 class of ordinands, about 60% of the men first considered being a priest between birth and 17 years of age. So, I ask the priests to stand up to see when they first heard the call. It is inevitably very similar to the breakdown for the class of 2020 ordinands.
This highlights the importance of engaging and encouraging religious vocations at this time of life, when these young people are still at home and more active in parish life. I just do not want to hear “kids are too young to hear about vocations” or, “that message is better for college kids.” Honestly, if we just wait to let the Neuman Centers deal with vocations, knowing that only 20% of college-aged young adults practice their faith, we will be in trouble.
We need a group at every parish that is focused on creating the environment where young people can hear and answer God’s call, which is the overarching goal of the ministry. We MUST challenge everyone at the parish to ask God what HIS will is in their lives, and then let the Holy Spirit do the rest. Over time, vocations will increase, including more seminarians, more men and women in religious orders, and more holy marriages.
One of the attending priests said of the workshop, “I am inspired by Rhonda’s joyful witness of her vocation. her testimony leading this workshop is an eye-opening for me, a ringing bell calling me to trust in the great love of people for priesthood in our church.”
St. Alphonsus Liguori, pray for us!