If parents and grandparents realized the tremendous graces and blessings that flow from a vocation in a family, it’s my belief that our seminaries would be full with a waiting list. So, why is it that there appears to be a shortage of priestly vocations?
I have heard many opinions throughout the years but the top three seem to be: the sexual abuse scandal, I want grandchildren, and celibacy would be too lonely of a life. These seem on the surface to be relevant, but I believe the biggest reason is that we are not currently encouraging and fostering vocations to the priesthood. No doubt enough men have been called. The problem is that we are not supporting and nurturing that call.
Let me share with you three easy ways to encourage and foster a possible vocation in your family. Number one, simply ask your son, “Have you ever thought about being a priest?” The answer may surprise you.
Second, surround your children with as much priestly influence as possible. When my sons were growing up, we had many priests over for dinner. We attended several priestly ordinations. These priests were great role models for my sons.
Third, watch for any movement of God’s grace in your children in order to encourage any possible invitations to the priesthood. Some may be obvious and others harder to detect. One Sunday while I was at Mass with my wife and my four sons, one of my son’s lips were moving continuously during the Eucharistic prayer. Puzzled by this, I asked him after Mass what he was doing during the Eucharistic prayer. He told me that he had memorized the Eucharistic prayer and was following along with the priest. That opened the door to the vocation discerning process, and I’m very happy to say that my son now is a Catholic priest.
God is definitely hearing our vocations prayer at Mass each Sunday, but let’s all do our part to encourage and foster vocations to the priesthood.
Steve LaFlamme Sr.