View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Friday, April 03, 2009

One new priest this year, then ...

Brian Carpenter is scheduled to be ordained a priest on June 6 of this year.

Unfortunately, there's not another ordination scheduled here in the Diocese of Rochester until after, hopefully, Barack Obama leaves office in 2013.

A four-year gap. No ordinations.

How many clerical deaths before then? How many other senior priests will becomes physically incapable of assisting in parishes and other ministries? What will the priestly numbers in the diocese be by then?

How many parishes will be closed or merged in the interim?

In his latest column, Bishop Matthew Clark says that he prays daily:

- that all of us will pray for vocations to the diocesan priesthood

- that we will invite and encourage boys and young men who have a spirit of service and talents that we would like to find in our priests to consider priesthood as a possibility for themselves

- that such generous and gifted individuals would be open to the possibilities of a priestly vocation and would be willing to explore that possibility with the assistance of our Vocations Office.

I believe in the power of prayer, but I think we need to do more.

Increasing the number of priests will take leadership that inspires, that fires up young men - the way Pope John Paul II did. It will take priests who are willing to reach out and invite. It will take creativity.

I see those in short supply these days.

How about a regular vocations show on our Catholic radio station?

How about youth rallies? With music?

How about a Catholic family camp like the one Madonna House offers in Canada?

How about a youth theater group?

How about working with the Irenaeus Center?

How about a Diocesan Youth Day?

How about priests regularly visiting our Catholic schools and high schools?

How about priests being involved with the pro-life movement where there are many young people of faith?

How about ministry projects involving high school and college students like the ones Glenmary does in Appalachia?

That's all just off the top of my head. I'm sure wiser folks can come up with more.

One ordination and then a four year gap. God help us.


Blogger GrandmaK said...

The Diocese of Evansville will only have one young man ordained this year as well. Be another 4 years I think as well. God WILL provide. I have to trust that this is true! Cathy

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:56 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Dr. K - Were I a priest - even a young priest - I would not have a problem with being a sacramental minister working with a good Pastoral Administrator. I'd just humbly consider it part of my ministry.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

The diocese has in the past tried some youth events. And I remember at least one large vocations gathering of young men recommended by their parishes (as potential priests). But sustained, regular events are needed.

The Evangelical folks have an annual music festival at Darian Lake (Kingdom Bound I think it's called). That draws a lot of young people. Why not a comparable Catholic event? There are popular national acts/performers who are Catholic (Matt Maher (sp?) for example), or with Catholic ties (Jars of Clay - McQuaid). Take over Frontier Field for a day each summer. 10,000 plus young people, singing, praising God, and getting the message that Catholicism (and service) in the Church are wonderful.

7:20 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Dr. K - a group I'd like to see the Diocese welcome/invite would be the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. There's a young priest from Hilton who's a member.

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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11:45 AM  
Blogger Rich Leonardi said...

For what it's worth, the position of pastoral administrator as it exists in Rochester is a clear violation of Church law and teaching. See article 4 of the Holy See's instruction On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of the Priest.

9:42 PM  
Blogger ben said...

It would seem to me that establishing a masculine spirituality would be of primary importance in attracting men to the priesthood. Most of our parishes are oozing with effeminacy, get rid of hand holding and liturgical dance and the like, please excuse me for phrasing it this way, but for the average adolescent male a lot of what goes on in our parishes is "gay".

Jesus Christ is the ultimate man, he sacrificed himself to save the world, he wasn't afraid to speak the truth. These 'manly' traits have been obscured by a PC Jesus weak and mild.

Lee, as a former evangelical I can tell you from experience (I'm in my 20s I have experienced these things as an evangelical teen) that youth rally's, concerts (such as Kingdom bound) and the like are emotional experiences and yes they attract alot of teens but they generally speaking dont have any substantial effect on the spirituality of the teens involved. Most of the kids either are already devout Christians or are their to be with their friends ect.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:07 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

I am not familiar with this particular document or of the current pastoral administrator structure.

I do seem to remember something from way back when the position was under discussion that there would be a canonical pastor - a priest - who would be technically the pastor of the parish even if he did not reside there, and that this would meet the rules. Whether that is indeed the case, and whether any subsequent Vatican regulations changed that, I don't know.

But if it is the case, they may be getting around the regulations by having a canonical priest pastor for each parish with a pastoral administrator.

Anyone know out there?

5:06 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Ben - I agree. Copncderts are for spirit, energy, not depth. But they might help to raise interest and at lest keep young peopel enthused about faith. I would weant ot see solid speakers and follw up efforts to help sustain the faith and help it grow.

I also agree, young men need good strong priestly male models to help inspire them to consider the priesthood. I would want to see them involved in any program. To be honest, most of the vocations directors I've seen in recent years around here are gentle sorts, nice guys but not praticulalry inspiring.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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6:20 PM  
Blogger RailRider said...

"I wouldn't consider the priesthood if I were going to be treated like dirt by a wannabe priestess, especially one with no respect for the doctrines of the Church, who would chastise me should I wish to preach the truth, or even take away much of the homily time for herself to promote her propaganda."

Charity incarnate.

I guess women have their uses, but not in your Church, eh?

6:04 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

railrider - I agree, sometimes the stereotyping, the name calling, and the mockery go too far.

I have complained about uncharitable comments before, and been subject to a few attacks myself as a result.

5:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"railrider - I agree, sometimes the stereotyping, the name calling, and the mockery go too far. "

Yet it's true that Sr. Sobala and Nancy DeRycke want to become priest(esses). That is not made up.
And yet they have not. They have stayed loyal to the Roman Catholic teaching and have not presented themselves for orders. disrupted ordination ceremonies, etc. They did not leave the Church, but have given their submission and/or assent. The fact that they do not allow their pride to control them but in fact accept that they are not the ones who make these decisions should say something about their Character.

I am not saying they are perfect. But I think that the fact that they have not openly opposed the Church (to my knowledge) does say something about them.

They don't go posting disrespectful comments about their Bishop on internet blogs, etc. Can you say that you have been as kind? Have you been submissive to your LEGITIMATE authority? Or have you gone around posting negative comments about him because you don't agree with him.

I can assure you that everything that the DoR has established is in accordance with Canon Law. It may not be everyone's preferred way of doing things (it's not mine), but it is certainly not a blatant violation of Church Law as some on this site suggest. Adn BTW that person is not generally Fr. Hart as someone contended.

Also, I see a lot of people not giving their pastors in the DoR the reverence prescripted by Canon 212 ยง3, nor the Magisterial Submission requires by Canon 219 (I am doubting that any of you have a JCL/JCD/STL/STD (I Do)) If you did, and you believed you rights are being violated, I would remind you that an internet blog is not the competent ecclesiastical forum for defending your rights (see Canon 221).

I do understand your frustration. Just like Nancy and Sr. Joan, you too feel that things are not being run as you would like to see them run. The difference is that they don't post their complaints on the internet, but submit, whereas you seem to be attempting to create division, which is not good.

Again, I am not agreeing or disagreeing with your position, but I do take issue with you airing your dissent and disrespect for your local Bishop, to whom you owe reverence and respect, on the internet.

11:47 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

anonymous - you have mixed together a comment I made,and one made by Dr. K, in the process suggesting that I said what he did. I don't know if that was your intention, or just a slip up as you typed (I've made such mistakes myself).

Let me be clear - I have never refered to Sisters in question as priestesses - I think that goes too far - and I have always been respectful of Bishop Clark.

Indeed, I have been mocked/attacked for being a defender of him.

(I orginally made a mistake of this sort myself in a comment, attributing the above to rail rider. Sorry!)

5:15 PM  

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