I had a discussion with a friend once about the decline in vocations to the priesthood. We were discussing all the possible causes of it; from poor catchesis, the culture of death, the culture of me, and even the sex abuse scandal. Then he brought one up that really interested me. He mentioned that it could be the declining size of families and that when you have 7-8 kids the likelihood of having a priest (or really any religious) in the family is much higher than when you just have 1-2 kids. Good point, Patrick! And that's where I left it for a while. I mean, I like math and math likes me so if I can say "It's just statistics!" then everyone's happy. But I probably wouldn't be writing a post about this if that was all there was to it.
While family size is a very possible reason for fewer priests, I just don't know if it's it. I mean the smaller the families, the fewer priests needed to minister to their diminishing flocks. That I guess is another problem with how the numbers add up but I still think it's more than numbers.
If we leave this all to just numbers then we're doing a pretty huge disservice to God. God calls men to the priesthood. He calls those chosen men to shepard his flock. If we say we're having a shortage because of numbers then what we're saying is God is abandoning his flock, that he's no longer providing for us. Maybe some people believe that, I don't know, what I do know is that I'm not one of them.
"Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work." Corinthians 2:9-8
I don't think we'll ever be able to say THIS one thing is the exact reason why less men are answering the call to the priesthood. I think it's a mix of poor catechesis, the culture of death, the culture of me, and even the sex abuse scandal. Wait, have we said that somewhere before?
Some may ask: 'But Katie if you don't know which tire has the flat, how can get the car moving?' I would say to them 'Well then I guess you have to fix all the tires.' And what better way to help heal the men of this fallen world than through prayer.
So please pray with me:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Eternal Father, Son of the Virgin Mary, we thank you for offering your life in sacrifice on the Cross, and for renewing this sacrifice in every Mass celebrated throughout the world.
In the power of the Holy Spirit we adore you and proclaim your living presence in the Eucharist. We desire to imitate the love you show us in your death and resurrection, by loving and serving one another.
We ask you to call many young people to religious life, and to provide the holy and generous priests that are so need in your Church today. Lord Jesus, hear our prayer Amen
And for those already ordained:
Divine Savior, Thou Friend of priests, send daily to all priests the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, that they may become all things to all men, in life and in death. Give them patience with the little ones, compassion for the sick, humility with the poor, courage before the enemies of the Church.
Make them tireless in teaching, patient and kind in the confessional, generous in the administration of Holy Communion.
Let them appear terrible to hell and the powers of evil, let them be messengers of peace to all men of good will.
Wherever they go, may Thy blessing go with them, wherever they abide, may Thy peace enter in. Whomsoever they bless, may he also be blessed by Thee. Make them apostles, make them saints.
Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, model of the priestly heart, have mercy on us!
If you're looking for more ways to help I found this top ten list of great ways to encourage, support, and guide.