This is good news! The decline in seminarians the U. S. Church has suffered since the end of the 1960s has leveled out and some seminaries are seeing an increase in enrollment.
Of course, it’s virtually certain that not all of these young men will end up being ordained to the priesthood, but they certainly won’t be ordained if they don’t enter seminary. Also, the fact that they are considering priesthood means that they’re committed to the Church and they have in themselves a heart to serve which, even if they aren’t ordained, will likely inspire in them a desire to serve the Church in some capacity as laymen.
We often hear, and I’ve even recently written about, the lack of commitment among millennials. The stats bear that out. Fewer millennials are committing to marriage, fewer are joining the military, and fewer are committing to jobs and careers. The fact that there are millennial men who are exploring the priesthood is a sign that the Church must be doing something right!
In fact, it’s likely many of these young men are responding to the want of meaning and purpose offered by the modern secular world. I wrote recently in my post, “Millennials and the Church,” of “increased job and marital dis-satisfaction, increased levels of loneliness, and increased poverty and mental health issues” among millennials. That is, I’m convinced, a direct result of our contemporary culture’s incessant focus on the self and a refusal to acknowledge the spiritual, divine reality in life, or to replace the true God with a series of false gods or a nebulous concept of “the divine.” This article suggests that these young men entering seminary seem to want more than what this world has to offer. They want to serve God and His Church and they want to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to a new generation. Father John Kartje of Mundelein Seminary in Chicago says of the recent crop of seminarians that they have an evangelizing spirit within them, that they want to teach and preach, but also go out and meet people. “Men are coming for the right reasons, and seminaries are providing them with a good formation,” Fr. Kartje says.
Let’s pray for these young men, that the Holy Spirit may inspire in them a genuine desire to serve Christ and His Church with a true calling to share the gospel and the sacraments to a world in sore need of God’s grace.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.