Vatican II and the Call to Vocations
By Rich May

The method for fostering more vocations to the priestly and religious life was established in Vatican II. Many documents exist for this purpose. Following these guidelines can make the priest and religious shortage a thing of the past. The main reason for the lack of vocations is not following these guidelines, which state that the Gospel must be stated more clearly and the people of God must carry out their roles. Rich also said that the role of John Paul II in these matters was that of inspiring young people to the religious life.

Restructuring CCE programs, and making certain that CCE teachers are qualified is very important.

It is easy to blame the state of the world and the cultural environment for the lack of vocations. However the campus ministry at Texas A&M University has produced a large number of candidates for the priesthood. That program is doing the right thing.

To encourage vocations, a sound catechesis must be established in a diocese. The task of fostering vocations belongs to the whole community, not to just a few. Bishops must be proactive in talking with young people, encouraging them to explore the call they may be experiencing. A sound selection process must also be established for properly selecting seminary candidates. It is also important the seminary instructors be properly qualified.

There are three pillars of the program that must be followed.

  • Obedience to the teachings of the church
  • Devotion to the Eucharist
  • Devotion to Mary

If these three things are integrated into a diocese, there will be more vocations. This has been demonstrated to be true in those dioceses that have accomplished this.

An understanding of the nature of the priesthood, the place of the priest, the importance of holiness, and the duties of the priest must be made known. It was pointed out that celibacy is a gift, and is freely chosen, so talk of married priests is not a valid solution to the shortage of vocations. Seminaries must teach their curricula correctly, and there must be continuing education and spiritual renewal for priests. And. priests should also be open to new ways of doing things.

Serrans and others who work for vocations must be truly helpful to the bishops. They can also promote the theology of the priesthood through pamphlets and other means. They can also be helpful by sitting in on various important CCE classes to make certain that the true message is being presented.

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