Just answered a few questions about what I think of the current efforts of promoting vocations in our diocese. I want to share my response with you.
One thing I don't really understand about our vocation promotion is why do they have seminary stay-ins.
I feel that vocation promotion is not that effective when done as a seminary stay-in experience. It's like sending people who want to be doctors for exposure in medical school instead of hospitals.
To see what a priest does, young men should follow priests when they perform their pastoral duties and when they celebrate the sacraments, basically, when they are functioning as priests.
Ministering the sacraments, teaching the Word and leading the community are the primary functions of seminarians who are ordained to be priests, prophets and kings. I feel that this would be a greater attraction to many young people who would be challenged by this type of sacrifice and calling.
Going to the seminary too see how seminarians live is not that attractive because seminary life is just a phase which one must pass through on the journey to priesthood. It's the end product that should be given more exposure, not the intermediate stage.
Emphasizing a strong Catholic identity at the parish and family level is also important as God's call often comes through families and parishes. Here, the priests' role as model and first recruiter is crucial. The young should want to be like their priests who live authentic lives of prayer and celebrate the Sacraments, especially Holy Mass with reverence and dignity. They want to emulate orthodox priests who preach something worth believing in, not the psycho-babble that predominates in today's homilies. The young want to be challenged, not pandered to and spoken to condescendingly. People will give up their lives for a mystery, not a question mark, which is what most priests preach today.
Priests should also frequently encourage the young people, especially the servers, to consider the priesthood. The Call should be made often and persistently.
I could tell you personal stories, but I'd better not. Anyway, what do you think about vocation promotion where you come from?
1 hour ago