Vocations in the Catholic Church

In an article about religion reporting comes this quote (source) from Brother Paul Bednarczyk, the executive director of the National Religious Vocation Conference:

“When asked to rate the encouragement they received when they first considered entering their religious institutes,” Brother Bednarczyk told the bishops, “newer entrants ranked family members (parents, brothers and sisters), people in the parish and diocesan priests as giving the least encouragement when they first considered entering their religious institute.”

I’ll repeat that. The people from whom the emerging sister or brother expects to get the most encouragement when considering their radical vocation offer the least. Broken down, 30 percent said they were “very much encouraged” by parents, 22 percent were “very much encouraged” by siblings, 31 percent were “very much encouraged” by fellow parishioners and only 17 percent were “very much encouraged” by diocesan priests.

One thought on “Vocations in the Catholic Church

  1. Over the summer, my wife and I drove up to southern Indiana, where there is a monastery and convent within 5 miles of each other where I had 3 great-great-aunts as nuns and 2 great-great-great uncles as brothers/priests.

    At the monastery, the Benedictine monks wore habits. They treated guests as Benedict would have. They had large exhibits set up recording their history. The church, while renovated, was tastefully done. I saw a photo of an old Catholic couple whose 3 sons and 3 daughters had all entered the two religious communities. During our tour, the monks practiced their chant in the crypt chapel. Our tour guide was a young novice, straight out of college. That very morning, before we arrived, a postulant had taken his final vows, with family present. In wandering around, I saw at least 4 or 5 more young people. The guide mentioned a growth of young vocations in recent years.

    At the convent, the nuns had a group of girls there for a summer cook-out. None of the nuns were in habits; most were in jeans and t-shirts. The nun inside at the reception desk was less than helpful. The church was still gorgeous, but now a large wooden globe structure sat in the middle, obscuring my view of the altar. When we arrived, the choir, complete with guitars, was preparing for Vespers. (At least they still did Vespers.) No nun looked younger than 55, most were over 65.

    I wonder which community gets more support from family, neighbors, etc.

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