I was just paging through a booklet published under the auspices of the United States Conference of Bishops entitled, “Lend Your Own Voice to Christ: A Helpful Guide for Priests to Call Forth Men to the Priesthood.”
The booklet was written by Fr. Thomas Richter, who for the past decade has served as vocation director for the Diocese of Bismarck.
Fr. Richter begins his presentation by giving us three “facts” that have been confirmed by many vocation-related surveys:
• Fact #1: The main reason young people do not consider the priesthood is because they have never been personally asked.
• Fact #2: Men first consider the priesthood because a priest encouraged them to consider it. Year after year, in surveys of classes of ordination, 80-88 percent of the men consistently report that it was a priest who invited them to consider the priesthood. Jesus calls men to the seminary and priesthood through a priest’s personal invitation encouraging them to consider it.
• Fact #3: The great majority of priests do not encourage men to consider a vocation to the priesthood. Surveys consistently show that only about 30 percent of priests actively invite men to consider the priesthood.
He then gives priests seven powerful lessons for calling forth young men to join them in ordained ministry.
This fine booklet, and several other vocations resources, may be found at the website for the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors.
I guess Fr. Richter’s work proves the old adage that “it never hurts to ask.”