Sydney (Agenzia Fides) – Six ordinations this June, an increase in seminarians, and many youth showing interest in the priesthood and religious life, embarking on vocational discernment...there are some of the signs of the “vocation boom” being reported by the Archdiocese of Sydney.
"There is no doubt there has been an upsurge in interest in a priestly vocation," says Fr Anthony Percy, Rector of the Seminary of Good Shepherd, who believes this is due in part to the success not just of Sydney's World Youth Day in 2008, but of World Youth Days held over the past one and a half decades. He also believes that the Year for Priests, proclaimed in June 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI, has also had an effect.
Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, is scheduled to ordain six priests on June 11. As Fides learns from the Archdiocese, it is the largest group in 20 years.
In addition to the seminarians who will be ordained priests, two Ugandan-born young men who have spent the past four years studying at the seminary in Australia will be ordained in July 2010 in their country of origin, and later return to Australia to carry out their pastoral ministry.
“While Australia has been battling against a shortage of priests since the late 1980s, it now looks as if interest in the priesthood and men seeking priestly vocations is once more on the rise,” the Archdiocese notes.
Fr. Percy confirms this renewed interest, telling of how 10 young men were accepted as candidates for the priesthood by the Seminary of the Good Shepherd and all have now commenced their first academic year of study. The Rector also credits this increase in seminarians to the new forms of evangelization among the youth which are now present in Australia, e.g. the new technologies, blogs, encounters, and other initiatives like Theology on Tap.
This coming Sunday, March 14, the Seminary is organizing a special “Vocation Inquiry Day,” which will be attended by hundreds of youth and will feature prayer, one-on-one dialogue, the Mass, and discussion groups. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 9/3/2010)