Bishop Rizzotto thanked the Serrans for all they do in animating and encouraging vocations to the Priestly and Religious life. Presently the Archdiocese of Galveston Houston is experiencing an increasing number of men and women who are entering these career paths.
He then told about St. Mary Seminary in Houston, which opened in 1954. Bishop Rizzotto was a student at the seminary. It was designed to hold 150 seminarians, each in his individual room. In the seminary's “hay days” it held about 130 students. Today, approximately 80 seminarians are now studying at the seminary. Through the work of Father Dat Hoang, Director of Vocations, 13 new seminarians entered this year, and there are 30 seminarians more than the previous year. As a result, the diocese has to look to seminary expansion. Also, five men will be ordained to the priesthood in June.
Many priests in the archdiocese are getting ready for retirement, which is mandatory at age 75. Retirement at this age is required buy canon law. At 75 a priest must write a letter to the Holy Father stating he is 75. Because Bishop Rizzotto and all bishops are not exempt from this law, he wrote his letter, then got a letter back that he was retired.
Although officially retired, Bishop Rizzotto continues to perform many functions in the archdiocese, such as preaching, confirming, and various other duties.
To fill the need for more priests, each of the 160 parishes in the archdiocese should have at least one seminarian studying for the priesthood every year. The Called by Name program would assist in this, as well as simply talking to young men and asking, “Have you ever thought about becoming a priest”. If your parish does not have a vocation committee, start one.
Bishop Rizzotto concluded by saying he hoed his remarks would be inspirational.