Please listen to Father Broom's talk on Priestly Vocations
“The harvest is rich and the laborers
are few; ask the Lord of the harvest to send more laborers to work in the
vineyard.” These powerful words of Jesus
are all the more pressing today as so many countries, cities; dioceses are
suffering an acute shortage and scarcity of vocations to the priesthood.
Therefore, we will present a two part essay on the principal reasons for a lack
of vocations to the priesthood and what we can do to foster vocations to the
priesthood. The duty to foster vocations
to the priesthood does not uniquely fall upon the shoulders of the Bishops and
priests but upon all people, the entirety of the Mystical Body of Christ!
I. SOME OF THE MAJOR OBSTACLES TO THE
Materialism. You cannot serve God and money at the same
time. Remember the call of the rich
young man. Jesus called him to follow.
This rich young man lived basically a good life all of his life, but he had one
obstacle, his possessions. His possessions
possessed him and blocked his full yes to following Jesus. The Parable of the Sower points out that
desire for riches chokes the Word of God from planting deeply in the ground and
bringing forth fruit.
FREUDIANISM. Asserts that it is impossible to live the
promise of celibacy or the vow of chastity…
Freudians cannot understand the whole concept of “Spiritual paternity”. Priests are fathers but in a spiritual sense.
Through the Sacramental life, spiritual life is generated, nourished and
brought to full maturity for the Kingdom of God.
Sad to say there have been scandals; too often simple people make sweeping
generalizations. If one priest falls, then all are bad and unfaithful. Remember
Jesus and Judas. Jesus chose 12, but one
failed dismally. However, the others
were and always will be great saints!
LACK OF LONG TERM COMMITMENT. Youth are afraid to make a long-term
commitment. They have seen too many
divorces! Paralyzed by fear, often cannot make a life-long commitment!
EGOTISM/SELFISHNESS. In a sensual and materialistic society, no
training in the value of the cross.
Jesus says that to follow Him we must renounce ourselves and carry our
cross. However, we should never forget
that after the sorrow of Good Friday, there is the glory of Easter Sunday!
SHATTERED FAMILIES. The family is the 1st seminary;
with this lacking, young people have many gaping emotional wounds.
IGNORANCE. None know the greatness of the Eucharist and
the value of the salvation of an immortal soul.
If all knew and really believed in the Eucharist, the seminaries would
be overflowing. What greater action in
the world exists than to consecrate the Host into the Body, Blood, Soul and
Divinity of Jesus!
PARENTAL RESISTANCE. Sometimes one of the major obstacles is on
the part of the parents who do not want to give up their child. St. Alphonsus Liguori who met violent
resistance on the part of his father, who eventually accepted his vocation to
the priesthood, wrote in his word ON RELIGIOUS LIFE that the parents can be the
best of friends to their children until they make a decision to become priests
or religious then they at times are transformed into the worse of enemies!
ADDICTIONS GALORE! Drink, drugs, porn—all of these grip the
young people and enslave them thereby blocking the possibility of a vocation, a
true calling! Sin suffocates and kills
the spiritual life!
10. LACK OF DIRECTION WHILE IN SEMINARY. Some actually leave when in a state of
desolation. The devil obviously wants
to force them out of the seminary. The
devil said of the Cure of Ars that of there were three more like him—saints
like the Cure of Ars—then his kingdom would be destroyed!
II. WAYS TO FOSTER/PROMOTE VOCATIONS
PRAY! Jesus said “The harvest is rich but the
laborers are few. Beg the Lord of the harvest to send laborers to work in the
MASS AND HOLY HOURS! Important to set aside a day/ Hour weekly to
pray for vocations.
THURSDAY. Thursday is an opportune day—specifically in
the evening. Why? This was the day that
both The Holy Eucharist and Holy Orders
were instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper.
PENANCE. Offer some form of sacrifice for this
purpose. Jesus said that some devils can be expelled only by prayers and
sacrifices. The devil tries to block the
call; he knows a holy priest will steal many souls from him!
VOCATION RETREATS. Try to promote vocation retreats. Many vocations are discovered in the silence
of retreat; especially when the Ignatian dynamic can be applied. One of the specific graces of Ignatian
spirituality is that of choice/election of state of life. When I made my 30 day retreat in Canada with
a Jesuit retreat master, two of the young men making the retreat with me decided
to become Oblate priests. This was due
to excellent direction and discernment given on the part of a Jesuit
COME AND SEE WEEKENDS! These are specifically designed to plant the seed
and to start to cultivate it!
VOCATIONAL DIRECTOR. Get to know the “Vocational directors” of the Congregation of
the Diocese and if you see a possible candidate then to make the
connection. For the Oblates it is Father Jeremy Paulin, OMV.
SUGGEST! Why not if you see a possible candidate to
ask/suggest that he consider the possibility of a vocation to the Priesthood or
the Religious Life. Many are called but
few are chosen. However, you can plant the seed by simply suggesting!
Formation of good, solid, loving, prayerful, joyful families is without
a doubt a planting ground for possible vocations. Many vocations come from good and solid
10. NO TO THE CONTRACECPTIVE
MENTALITY! One of the principal reasons
for the lack of vocations is the “Contraceptive mentality”. This means in concrete that many couples
decide--- often due to selfish reasons--- to have one child or two. Whereas it might be in the mind and will of
God for them to have 6! Therefore, 4 of
those children never came into existence from which 4 possible vocations could
have been chosen!
11.ALTAR SERVERS! Pope John Paul II, in one of his letters for
Holy Thursday, stated that altar serving is one of the places where young boys
start to think of the possibility of becoming priests in the future. Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen stated
that he never remembers when he did not want to become a priest. However, he
stated three very positive influences on his vocation to the priesthood: 1) He
served Mass in the local Cathedral: 2) Priests would come to his home to dine
and therefore he had contact with men who later he would have models for his
life as a future priest; 3) FAMILY ROSARY.
His family had the habit of praying the family Rosary together. “The family that prays together stays
MODELS/EXAMPLES! Pope John Paul II was
in the process of discerning his vocation!
Actor, writer, philosopher, and possibly priest??? One of the determining factors in helping
this great saint to opt for the priesthood was the power of example. Who was
it? None other than his co-patriot, MAXIMILIAN
KOLBE, and his heroic death that encouraged him to choose the vocation to the
priesthood. The heroic death through
martyrdom of Kolbe compelled Karol Woytyla to choose the priesthood and
sacrifice himself for the salvation of souls as priest, Bishop, and then for
more than 26 years Holy Father!
13. EUCHARIST. Parents must strive to cultivate an authentic
love for Holy Mass, the Holy Eucharist and of course Holy Communion; this is
undoubtedly a preparation of a possible vocation to the priesthood. We are all called to the vocation of
love. Most choose love in the vocation
of the married state. Others choose love through the Priesthood and it is a
love of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist that sustains that vocation! Eugene Boylan wrote the classic THE WORLD’S
TREMENDOUS LOVER. This “Tremendous
Lover” is Jesus Christ who is truly present in the Mass and in the Holy
Eucharist, in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. In
my own case I am thankful for my mother for having encouraged Daily Mass in
Advent—with the cold New York mornings—and in Lent. This left on my soul an
indelible impression--- a love for the Mass and the Eucharist--- and planted
the seed for the vocation to the priesthood.
14. PUBLICITY. Having good publicity can also serve to foster
vocations: pamphlets, books, movies, DVD’s, CD’s, A few years ago an excellent 10 minute
vocational DVD came out called “Fishers’ of men”. It showed happy, prayerful, manly men loving
their vocation to the priesthood. This is key that the young see men of God who
really love God but are in love with their vocation and radiate this joy. An exuberant joy: for that reason Mother
Teresa had so many vocations!
15.MARY AND THE
PRIESTHOOD. Mary is the mother of
priests. St. John was given to Mary at
the foot of the cross. In Knock Ireland, Mary appeared with St. John seen as Bishop;
the saintly priest-Bishop St John was dressed in liturgical garb. We must turn to Mary and beg for her prayers
and intercession of more priests.
CURE OF ARS. Pope Ben 16th called for a year of
the priesthood and took as model the Cure of Ars. This saint said that in all of the important
spiritual moments of our lives the priest is present—from Baptism to the grave.
No priest no mass, no Mass, no Holy Communion and no Holy Communion no Jesus! May we all do our part to pray, to sacrifice,
to suggest and encourage the sublime but all so necessary vocation to the