Ahh the priest shortage.
It's rearing its head...
Recently, a friend and fellow blogger offered some eye-opening theological and pastoral insights and helped put some meat on the stark statistical reality facing the Roman Catholic Church.
Simply put, there aren't enough guys ordained to maintain (let alone grow) the current diocesan structure. Parishes are being closed or merged and life seems to be on a slippery slope down down down into a future that certainly seems the juxtaposition of the era of Going My Way and good old Bing Crosby.
The priesthood has lost numbers.
The priesthood has lost credibility.
The priesthood is confused.
Okay, okay…before you get all defensive let's gain some perspective….vocation wise that is…
Marriage has lost numbers (divorce rates)
Marriage has lost credibility (it no longer means two married heterosexual people)
Marriage is confused (as it is now redefined in the political arena)
We are all in a vocation diaspora--that wandering and 'wondering' and striving to stay true to the essential call of vocation. God is still calling it's just that we muck everything up.
And the devil sits back and smiles.
The devil needs to be cast out.
How do you cast out a devil?
So here are some preliminary thoughts;
What about prayer for vocations? I mean real prayer--like an evening once a week in the parish. People kneeling in the pews with their priest beside them praying for married and religious and single and priests? Not just a one time thing---a real commitment for a designated time period (even more than advent).
What about fasting for vocations? What about the diocesan clergy offering something up for their own? When there is only one piece of cake and the parent really wanted it--but the child says; "Can I have a piece?" Instead of splitting it--the parent gives the child the whole piece and goes without…a gesture of holding nothing back. Clergy need, clergy must fast for their own!
Give up on the 'vocation' dinners and get to vocation fasting. Do it in a parish.
Let's simply balance the bad news with living the Good News!
How many priestly gatherings occur for the sole purpose of prayer and fasting for vocations to their ranks? Sadly, I've never heard of one.
"…these demons can only be cast out by…"
you got it.
And…just for the record--marriage only becomes better and better with prayer and fasting!!