Salesians of Don Bosco

6 Effective Habits of Vocational Recruiting

I thought this was an interesting article on vocations. It is no surprise that it starts at home and that Dads do have a large part to play. Also, on November 24, 2004 the late Pope John Paul II blessed six monstrances for use during the Year of the Eucharist for people to pray for an increase of vocations to ordained ministry and consecrated life.

Let's play for all those who continue to discern that they might find the support they need at home and in the Eucharist!
NORTH HAVEN, Connecticut, FEB. 6, 2006 ( Dioceses reporting successful rates of vocational recruitment have something in common, says the National Catholic Register.

In a summary of reporter Tim Drake's article "Vocations Surge" in a recent issue, the Register compiled a list of "six habits of highly effective dioceses."

The first habit was putting the Eucharist at the center of vocational work.

In an editorial the newspaper explained: "Eucharistic adoration is especially effective because it draws sharp attention to the great gift that makes the priesthood so extraordinary and so needed -- we have the priesthood to thank for God's real presence in the Blessed Sacrament.

"And the dynamic of silent Eucharistic adoration inevitably leads to the question, 'What do you want me to do, Lord?'"

According to the newspaper, the Web site worked with American bishops to deliver Vatican monstrances to dioceses to promote adoration in parishes.

"Program leaders like David Craig have been astounded to see parishes produce their first vocations ever after Eucharistic adoration was introduced," the editorial stated.


The second habit cited by the newspaper was the invitation. According to a U.S. bishops' survey, 78% of those being ordained began considering the priesthood after an invitation to do so from a priest.

Third, seminaries must be faithful to the magisterium in order to attract candidates. The Register editors mentioned three seminaries that are booming: St. Mary's in Emmitsburg, Maryland; St. Vincent in Latrobe, Pennsylvania; and St. Gregory the Great in Seward, Nebraska.

Seminaries are not the only element that needs to be faithful. Candidates to the priesthood also come from faithful families.

The editorial cited a key role played by fathers, explaining: "There are beautiful exceptions, but the rule is that priests come from committed Catholic families in which the father is an active player in the family's faith."

Youth Day

The fifth and sixth habits reported by the Register are interaction with priests and attendance at a World Youth Day.

Youth need to meet and interact with priests or "it may never occur to many young men that the priesthood is a life that would appeal to them," the article explained.

Key among the venues for this interaction is altar serving: "For many priests, serving at the altar was the first place they first came to know men who had been called and understood what the call entailed."

And the "World Youth Day factor is very real," the editorial said. It explained that these events give young men the chance to see that they can have "a big, positive impact on the world -- one that lasts for eternity."

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Comment by Br. Paul Chu on March 1, 2008 at 2:58pm
I find this article very true to my own vocation. My father always emphasized the value of prayer and that I should pray non-stop. Being young and rebellious, I ignored it. But as I am more grown now, his words are echoing in my heart more and more everyday.

Thank you Brittany for sharing. I can share the same feeling. An important part of why I chose Salesian is the natural, spontaneous interactions I saw on my first visit. The guys and priests were talking and connecting, but were trying to make an impression.
Comment by Sister Brittany on February 28, 2008 at 11:34pm

1) Having the Eucharist at the center is very important. We can talk all we want but it must be Christ who ultimately speaks to the heart of anyone in discernment (I include myself in that). We get so wrapped up in “words” that we forget “THE WORD” that was made flesh and dwelt among us. Let THE WORD speak. Werd.

2) Authenticity. Do not put on a “show” for those who come to visit. When I visited a lot of orders I could tell that they were not being themselves and it really turned me off. We know that young people can smell “fake” a million miles away, so let us be ourselves and know that being human is nothing to be ashamed of. People in discernment want religious/priests to whom they can relate on their level and who are not afraid to meet them where they are at. “Be who you are and be that well” - St Francis de Sales.

3) Web presence. It provides an informal way for people to learn more about us, to ask the questions which they perhaps would be afraid to ask in person, and to not feel like they have to commit or be pressured when they are not ready for that “in-person” visit. Blogs are a great way to share the life in the formation house… but I have found that most Catholic forums are not a good place to meet people because the ideas are often conditioned and filtered to fit an “agenda”. Myspace, Facebook are also good… Love what they love and they will love what we love (Don Bosco said that) , right?

4) Enjoy your life and not be afraid to let the life of Christ shine through you. What I love most about being Salesian is that we have that incredible charism of joy and spontaneity that attracts the young and enables us to touch that “access point of good” within them. There is so much emptiness and false promises that are being offered to our young people today; perhaps in us they will see something fulfilled and fulfilling.

5) Devotion to the Holy Spirit. From teaching religious education to working with people informally in the parish setting, to getting a “feeling” that i should talk to a certain person, I have come to value a strong devotion to the Holy Spirit. I have a great fondness for Cardinal Mercier’s prayer to the Holy Spirit (although I have changed some of the words and added a phrase at the end):
O, HOLY SPIRIT, beloved of my soul,
and DIRECT me in DOING it.
to ALL that YOU DESIRE of me
that you PERMIT
to HAPPEN to me.
and HELP me to DO it.

6) Be not afraid. God will send vocations when the time is right. I have known a number of people RUN from religious orders because they felt like the people in the vocation office were desperately grasping after them. Nothing quite compares to feeling like the fate of an entire order rests upon your asking for an application.

7) And last, but not least, devotion to Our Lady. She is really the “Queen of Hearts” and it is to her that we owe a great debt of gratitude. She leads us to her Son, Jesus, and helps us to “Listen to Him”, as she did the servants in Cana. The rosary and other such devotional prayers are nice, but a real, living relationship with her as our Mother and Helper is what keeps us near Jesus and helps us to “ponder all these things” in our heart.

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