Pastor's Page
By Fr. George Welzbacher
May 23, 2010

At the St. Paul Cathedral this coming Saturday morning, May 29th, at ten o'clock Archbishop Nienstedt will ordain seven young men to the priesthood for life-long service to our archdiocese. Two of the ordinands, Paul Kubista and Douglas Pierce, are St. Agnes parishioners, and I can testify from personal knowledge that the archdiocese will be blessed in their joining the ranks of our presbyterate. And for their five classmates I have heard nothing but praise. Indeed, under the sponsorship of the St. Paul Seminary's current faculty and administration it could hardly be otherwise.

Douglas Pierce and Paul Kubista come from contrasting backgrounds.  Paul's background conforms to the typical home environment referenced in a recent report from the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Conference (reprinted below from The Wanderer) on the factors contributing to a man's willingness to say "yes" to a call to the priesthood. Douglas' background is different. A Lutheran, he began to explore the evidence for the Catholic Faith during his years at Northfield's St. Olaf's College, all of which in turn, after prayer and study and thoughtful reflection, led to his being convinced that the fullness of Christ's grace and truth were to be found in the Catholic Church. He told me a few days ago that to his great joy, his father had recently become a Catholic and his mother will be making her First Holy Communion as a Roman Catholic on his ordination day.

Please pray for these seven men this week as they prepare for ordination, and keep them (and keep all of our priests, myelf most particularly included) always in your prayers each day. Pray that the zeal which inspires our seven ordinands may never fail. And pray that in the troubled times that all too clearly lie ahead, the virtue of  fortitude, that all-important gift of the Holy Spirit, may be found in abundance in their hearts and in the hearts of all of our bishops and priests.

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A summary of the U.S. Bishops' report (to which I alluded in my comments above) appeared in The Wanderer for April 29th. May I share it with you here.

New Priestly Vocations... A Result of Collaborative Effort
   The Wanderer of April 29, 2010

Evidence from a study on the candidates for ordinations this year shows that the vocations are a result of the collaboration of clergy, families, and the entire People of God.

The U. S. Bishops' Conference reported April 16 on "The Class of 2010; Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood," an annual research project commissioned by the conference and conducted by Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, chairman of the conference's Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, affirrned, "Most ordinands have been Catholic since birth."

He continued: "Four in five report that both their parents are Catholic. Almost eight in 10 were encouraged to consider the priesthood by a priest.

"This speaks to the essential role the whole Church has to play in fostering vocations."

The cardinal pointed out that almost three-quarters of this year's class reported serving previously as an altar server, lector, Eucharistic minister or other parish minister.

"One important trend evident in this study is the importance of life-long formation and engagement in the Catholic faith," he stated.

Some 92% of the men held a full-time job before entering the seminary, with education being the most popular field.

Three out of five of the ordinands completed college before entering the seminary, and one in five also received a graduate degree.

A third of the class entered the seminary while in college. On average, they reported first considering a religious vocation when they were 18 years old.

Around 37% of the ordinands have a relative who is a priest or religious.

Two thirds of the class stated that they regularly prayed the rosary and participated in Eucharistic Adoration BEFORE they entered the seminary.

The majority of the men have more than two siblings, with 24% reporting five or more brothers. Some 70% of the ordinands are Caucasian/European American/white, while 13% reported their ethnicity as Hispanic/Latino, and 10% as Asian/Pacific Islander.

Almost one third of the class was bom outside the United States, the majority coming from Mexico, Colombia, the Philippines, Poland, and Vietnam. The survey was sent to 440 candidates for the priesthood. It was returned by 291 men who will be ordained for the diocesan priesthood and 48 who belong to religious orders. The bishops' conference is publishing the entire report on their Web site, as well as on a new page dedicated to the promotion of vocations. This new site was launched on Sunday April 25th, Good Shepherd Sunday and the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. It contains resources for men and women discerning a vocation, as well as for parents, educators, and vocation promoters.
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