This past week I have had two opportunities to get a small taste of my forthcoming assignment as the Associate Director of the Office for Vocations.
On Wednesday I returned to St. Anthony High School in Effingham for a career fair, where I set up shop with a vocations booth, complete with posters, brochures, a display board, and sour balls (they didn't last long).
Throughout the career fair many of the boys - freshmen through seniors - came over and said to me, "So, tell me why I should be a priest," in the hopes of stumping me with their friends grinning around them.
Turning the tables on them, I replied, "The real question is this: Why shouldn't you be a priest?"
I was met with blank stares and white faces, while their friends continued grinning. Until I posed the same question to them. I very much enjoyed watching their faces go white, too.
None had a good answer, and they knew it. Perhaps several of them were trying to ignore the Lord's call.
I reminded them - I'd told them this many times before - that until they knew why they should not be a priest that they should keep praying and thinking about the priesthood. Only one tried to refuse.
Yesterday I snuck away from my parish Koinonia retreat to attend a part of the Thinking of Priesthood day in Springfield. Twelve (12) men came for the day, eight (8) of whom were high school juniors or seniors; until three or four wanted to attend the day, but were unable to due to work or family obligations.
I was very impressed with all of the men who for the day of discussion and reflection. The future of the priesthood is bright, indeed!
The Lord is certainly calling men to share in his priesthood, now it is up to us to help them respond with courage and generosity.