Shortage of priests as youths shy away from vocation
By DERRICK VINESH
PARENTS should educate their sons on the benefits of becoming a priest, said Church of St Anthony Nibong Tebal priest Reverend Father Francis Xavier Selvarajoo.
He said the number of youths entering priesthood in the country was declining as many Christian pa-rents felt it was not a lucrative job.
“These days, parents want their children to secure high-paying jobs.
“They expect others to become priests and insist that churches have dedicated priests to fulfil their spiritual needs,” he said as he celebrated his 25 years as a priest recently at a sacerdotal silver jubilee mass at his church.
Rev Francis Xavier said families should look beyond materialism and the pleasures of life to boldly commit their future in God’s hands.
He noted that the heavy workload shared among the small pool of priests in every denomination had also caused youths to shy away from the vocation.
Speaking about his admission to the St Francis Xavier Minor Seminary in Singapore in 1975, Rev Francis Xavier said he was actually “tricked” into entering priesthood.
“I had just obtained my SPM results when I met the late Bishop Gregory Yong at Church of Christ The King, Sungai Petani.
“He congratulated me on my results and sent me on a fully-paid one-way trip to the seminary in Singapore as a reward.
“I was allowed to return to Penang only after seven months. But soon I felt something missing in my life and decided to go back to the seminary.
“It was then I realised that it was my calling from God,” he said.
Rev Francis Xavier said that other than taking part in youth activities at the church, priests should sit down and have coffee with the youths and give them leadership tasks to perform.
In this way, he said, the youths would not only feel a sense of importance but would be able to understand the functions of a priest better.
“However, the most effective way will be to sow the seeds from the beginning, by encouraging them to volunteer as servers and choir members at primary school level.
“This is because it would be hard to change their mentality in the teenage years,” he said.
40 minutes ago