Project Andrew, named for the apostle who invited his brother Simon (Peter) to come meet Jesus (see John 1:40-42), has become a popular vocation-related events for potential seminarians. While the format varies from diocese to diocese, the idea is to have young men “come and see” by spending an evening with the bishop, sharing a meal, discussion, and prayer.
The evenings encourage young men to actively seek out what God wants of them (maybe priesthood, maybe not), and then challenge them to be heroically generous in embracing and living out this vocation. In that sense, it’s about discernment, not recruitment.
Given that context, I wanted to share this article from my own archdiocesan newspaper regarding a Project Andrew event here in Kansas City. What I found to be particularly valuable was the addition of a parent component, as parents of the young men in discernment are invited to hear from parents of some current seminarians.
While the Church extols the great gift that vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life are to Catholic families, the fact is that many parents are opposed to this way of life for their children. There may be fears of “losing” their children or they may simply harbor misconceptions about the priesthood, consecrated life, or the Church in general–just the sort of things that dialogue and friendship with other parents could help resolve.
As Catechism, no. 2233 provides:
“Parents should welcome and respect with joy and thanksgiving the Lord’s call to one of their children to follow him in virginity for the sake of the Kingdom in the consecrated life or in priestly ministry.”