It’s been one year since Bishop Crosby appointed me Director of Vocations. Initially I focused on establishing the Young Adults Night held in various locations across the diocese on the first Saturday of each month to promote all vocations and continuing the Men’s Discernment Group once a month to accompany those specifically considering the priesthood. I believe both initiatives have been a good start for my ministry of planting vocational seeds. Let’s keep working together as we plant seeds and water them while praying that God may give the grow. With this post, I’m re-establishing the Hamilton Priest as online version of what Father Kuzma first published back in May of 2013. I hope to post four times a year, giving you updates on my vocations ministry that I hope will foster our working together and help us welcome our seminarians and newly ordained priests.
I recently attended an excellent conference for vocations directors hosted by Benedict XVI Institute for New Evangelization (Edmonton, Alberta) at The Kingbridge Centre (King City, Ontario) called Renewing Priestly Vocations in Canada: Reflections and Dialogue. We focussed on a new report entitled “Meet Our New Men: 12 Key Findings about the Background, Discernment, and Seminary Formation of Canada’s Recent Ordination Classes”. I found the conference very encouraging and would like to share some of the report findings with you.
The graphic entitled “What Leads to Priesthood?” contains some key findings that I think we should be taking into account when we are promoting vocations to the priesthood in our parishes: 1) the most common prayer practices before entering the seminary were Confession, Eucharistic Adoration, and the Rosary; 2) the most common ministry was Altar Serving; and 3) the person who supported their vocational discernment the most was their parish priest, followed by their mother, father and a parishioner. The graphic and the full report can be downloaded from here.
Based on these key findings, as we collaborate in vocations ministry, I encourage you to make the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharistic Adoration available in your parish to our young adults who are discerning their vocations. Given the fact that newly ordained priests in Canada reported being supported the most by their parish priest, please do not underestimate the positive influence you can have in fostering vocations to the priesthood in our diocese. Another key finding of the report is that the average age when the newly ordained first considered the priesthood was 21 years old. (In a similar report, the average age in the United States was found be 16 years old.) Given this reality, I make an appeal to you to reach out to young men to encourage them to consider a vocation to the priesthood. Moreover, I ask that you invite men in your parish who are considering the priesthood to join our Men’s Discernment Group by contacting me.
Father Jonathan Reitzel was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Crosby on May 6th, 2023. In this interview he answers questions about his family background, his formation, what he is enjoying about being a parish priest, something about himself that he wants to share with the priests of our diocese, and advice for those who maybe discerning a vocation to the priesthood.
Please visit our social media sites to see what’s happening in vocations ministry in our diocese. More importantly, please share these links with your parishioners:
Please pray for vocations!
Father Mark Morley
Diocese of Hamilton