Monday, February 7, 2011

One of the Most Important Articles in Years

Great insights into why Vocation programs are not working and the crisis of discipleship in the Catholic Church.
A snip:
Millions of dollars have been spent by vocation offices on prayer cards, lesson plans, vocation week activities, homily helpers, discernment brochures, websites, and an array of other vocation promotion materials, but have these approaches really made a significant impact on our young people? Sadly, the answer is no. For all the effort that has been put into vocation awareness in recent history, our returns have not been very good, but it is not for lack of effort. Bishops, vocation directors, DREs, catechists and parents, have been working diligently to address the lack of vocations in the Church, but very little has changed. Sure, there are some orders and some diocesan seminaries that are doing better than others, but the overall vocation picture remains the same. It seems to me that the real problem is that we’ve misdiagnosed the vocation situation, and therefore, we’ve been spending all our time, effort and money on the wrong things. In other words, we’ve been treating the symptoms without ever recognizing the disease.

The root of our current vocation problem is a lack of discipleship. Of course, a disciple is one who encounters Jesus, repents, experiences conversion and then follows Jesus. All too often those of us in positions of Church leadership presume that all the folks in the pews on Sundays, all the children in our grade schools, high schools and PSR programs, all the kids in our youth groups, all the men in our Men’s Clubs and all the women in our Women’s Guilds, and all the members of our RCIA team are already disciples. Many are not. (The same can be said of staffs and faculties of Catholic institutions.) Our people may be very active in the programs of our parishes, schools and institutions, but unfortunately, such participation does not qualify for discipleship.

If the root of our vocation problem is a lack of discipleship, then the remedy is to make more disciples, just as Jesus commanded. But how is this accomplished?
Continue reading.
Tip o' the hat to Sherry Weddell.


Jessie said...

Sherry was actually quoting a priest from my Diocese, Fr. Damian Ferrance.. and I completely agree. Vocations only flow out of true experience of and relationship with Jesus Christ. I loved the part that he states we MUST TEACH THE YOUTH HOW TO PRAY. Prayer is what links us to God, allows us to hear Him, and then received the strength for what He is calling us to. That encounter with Christ is the only way I was able to truly come to know my vocation.

Thanks for sharing, Marcel!

not a minx, a moron, or a parasite said...

Can't wait to read the rest of this article! This is exactly what I've been thinking as we struggle to create Young Adult groups in my diocese.