Sorry there was not a post yesterday. Even though it was my day away there was a day of solid meetings to which I needed to attend from early morning until late at night. At least they were mostly pleasant. One was with the person pictured here. Woohoo! Good to see you again who was the inspiration for Adam’s Ale!
On Monday I was at another meeting called the Presbyteral District meeting. Dioceses are subdivided into smaller units of parishes. (Kind of sounds like Moses and the advice he got from his father-in-law; divide them up into groups of thousands, hundreds, and tens . . . ) So we have the world, nations, dioceses, groupings within a diocese, parishes, and it can go on from there.
A diocese may be divided up either into districts or deaneries. This diocese is divided up into districts. St. Sebastian Parish is the Summit South district. It was to this presbyteral (read: priests) district meeting to which I went. At these meetings there are reports from the presbyteral council (the council of priests that meet monthly with the bishop) and we may craft a requested (or not so requested) response or send other topics to the council for discussion.
Diocesan news is also discussed as well as announcements of things going on at parishes within the district that others might find intriguing. Finally, there is often a presentation usually from one of the offices “downtown.” This week, the presentation was from Fr. Michael McCandless who is the vocation director for the Diocese of Cleveland.
By all accounts, the seminary of the Diocese of Cleveland is one of the healthiest numbers wise in the nation. We are nowhere near replacement rate, but we are doing quite well. We are one of the only non-regional seminaries left. That is, though there are seminaries with many more students, those students tend to come from many dioceses. If you are a diocesan or religious studying at our seminaries in Cleveland, you or your order serves in the Cleveland area. That makes our numbers all the more remarkable.
Here are some things you need to know to help promote vocations and help a “culture of vocations” grow around you.
ü The average age that a man begins thinking seriously about the priesthood is about 16 or 17.
ü The average age of the ordinandi in our diocese is 29.
ü 48% were discouraged by parents, family, and/or friends.
ü 100% talked to a priest about their vocation.
If a young man was seriously thinking about the seminary and nobody spoke to them about it such as, “Hey, did you ever think of the priesthood - I think you would be great,” there is only a 15% chance that they will take any action about looking into the priesthood.
If the same young man had 2 people speak to him, there is a 30% chance that they will take an action. If 3 people, there is a 45% chance. If 4, 60%, and if 5, 75%.
That is how vital you are.
Also, let young men know that going to the seminary (or even just looking into it) does not mean they chain you to the chapel and make you become a priest. The seminary is a place of discernment. It is a place to explore, not that you might find certainty in your decision, but clarity.
And, moms and dads, the education and formation that your son receives as an undergraduate is superior, marketable, and, in the long run, much less expensive. So don’t fear that he is locked away at the seminary becoming stunted should he decide to leave the seminary. In fact, he will take many classes at and receive his degree from John Caroll University. Not bad at all.