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Reflections: Priests & Voctns. Sctn. (Vocations)

St. John Vianney, the Curé D'Ars (patron saint of priests)

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Priests & Vocations Sctn.:

Fostering Vocations

Wisdom of the Popes, Saints, Theologians, Other...

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Fostering Vocations

Better a Few Good Priests Than Many That Are Not Good



Fostering Vocations

Also See: Vocations (Topic Page)

"Then [Jesus] said to his disciples, 'The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.'" (Mt. 9:37-38)

"[Jesus] said to them, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest." (Lk. 10:2)

"Religious should remember there is no better way than their own example to commend their institutes and gain candidates for the religious life." (Second Vatican Council)

"Our Lord Himself shows us the surest way of having numerous vocations, 'Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into his harvest': humble prayer trusting in God." (Pope Pius XII, "Menti Nostrae", 1950 A.D.)

"One ought to pray earnestly, especially at the Ember Seasons, that God will give us good priests. If they are saints, what good they are able to do! But, whatever they are, never speak against them." (St. John Vianney) 

"The first responsibility for the pastoral work of promoting priestly vocations lies with the bishop... It is his duty to foster and coordinate various initiatives on behalf of vocations." (Pope John Paul II)

"May God grant that new and larger ranks of priests, religious men and women, equal in number and virtue to the current necessities of the Church, may soon go forth to cultivate the vineyard of the Lord." (Pope Pius XII, "Sacra Virginitas", 1954 A.D.)

"Can. 1353 Priests and bishops, especially pastors are to work so that boys who give signs of an ecclesiastical vocation are kept with special care from the contagion of the world, to form piety, and from their first studies of letters are imbued with divine things that will encourage the seed of vocation in them." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"The priestly vocation is a gift from God. It is undoubtedly a great good for the person who is its first recipient. But it is also a gift to the Church as a whole, a benefit to her life and mission. The Church, therefore, is called to safeguard this gift, to esteem it and love it. She is responsible for the birth and development of priestly vocations." (Pope John Paul II)

"The very life of priests, their unconditional dedication to God's flock, their witness of loving service to the Lord and to his Church - a witness marked by free acceptance of the cross in the spirit of hope and Easter joy - their fraternal unity and zeal for the evangelization of the world are the first and most convincing factor in the growth of vocations." (Pope John Paul II)

"It is true that the Society founded by Christ will never lack the priests necessary for its mission. Nevertheless, it is necessary for all to be watchful and to exert themselves, mindful of the words of Our Lord, 'the harvest indeed is abundant but the laborers are few', and to be as diligent as possible in giving the Church numerous and holy ministers." (Pope Pius XII, "Menti Nostrae", 1950 A.D.)

"Priests and Christian educators should make serious efforts to foster religious vocations, thereby increasing the strength of the Church, corresponding to its needs. These candidates should be suitably and carefully chosen. In ordinary preaching, the life of the evangelical counsels and the religious state should be treated more frequently. Parents, too, should nurture and protect religious vocations in their children by instilling Christian virtue in their hearts." (Second Vatican Council)

"How many of us also owe to our mothers our very vocation to the priesthood! Experience shows that very often it is the mother who for years nurtures in her own heart a desire for a priestly vocation for her son, and obtains it by praying with persevering trust and deep humility. Thus, without imposing her own will, she favors with the effectiveness typical of faith the blossoming of an aspiration to the priesthood in the soul of her son, an aspiration which will bear fruit in due season." (Pope John Paul II)

"Let the ministers of God seek not only by preaching and catechetical instruction but also in private conversations to dissipate the prejudices now so widespread against the priestly state by showing its lofty dignity, its beauty, its necessity and its great merit. Every Christian mother and father, whatever their social status, must pray to God to make them worthy to have at least one of their children called to His service. Finally, all Christians must deem it their duty to encourage and aid those who feel called to the priesthood." (Pope Pius XII, "Menti Nostrae", 1950 A.D.)

"[S]elect carefully good and upright young boys from all classes of citizens who will come generously and spontaneously to serve at the altar with careful zeal and exactness. Parents of higher social standing and culture should greatly esteem this office for their children. If these youths, under the watchful guidance of the priests, are properly trained and encouraged to fulfill the task committed to them punctually, reverently and constantly, then from their number will readily come fresh candidates for the priesthood." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"But the first and most natural place where the flowers of the sanctuary should almost spontaneously grow and bloom, remains always the truly and deeply Christian family. Most of the saintly bishops and priests whose 'praise the Church declares,' owe the beginning of their vocation and their holiness to example and teaching of a father strong in faith and manly virtues, of a pure and devoted mother, and of a family in which the love of God and neighbor, joined with simplicity of life, has reigned supreme. To this ordinary rule of divine Providence exceptions are rare and only serve to prove the rule." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

"We wholeheartedly call on the entire [Church] to do their duty in bringing about an increase in priestly vocations. We ask them fervently to beg the Father of all, the divine Spouse of the Church, and the Holy Spirit, her principle of life, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ and of His Church, to pour out, especially at present, this divine gift, which the Father certainly does not wish to give stintingly. They should also fervently pray, in like manner, that souls may dispose themselves to receive this gift by a profound faith and a generous love." (Pope Paul VI, 1967)

"Parents and teachers and all who are engaged in any way in the education of boys and young men should so prepare them that they will recognize the solicitude of Our Lord for His flock, will consider the needs of the Church, and will be prepared to respond generously to Our Lord when He calls, saying: 'Here I am Lord, send me' (Isa. 6:8). This voice of the Lord calling, however, is never to be expected as something which in an extraordinary manner will be heard by the ears of the future priest. It is rather to be known and understood in the manner in which the will of God is daily made known to prudent Christians. These indications should be carefully noted by priests." (Second Vatican Council)

"We should also remember the numerous groups, movements and associations of lay faithful whom the Holy Spirit raises up and fosters in the Church with a view to a more missionary Christian presence in the world. These various groupings of lay people are proving a particularly fertile field for the manifestation of vocations to consecrated life, and are truly environments in which vocations can be encouraged and can grow. Many young people, in and through these groupings, have heard the Lord's call to follow him along the path of priestly ministry and have responded with a generosity that is reassuring." (Pope John Paul II)

"Our Lord Jesus Christ did not hesitate to confide the formidable task of evangelizing the then-known world to a handful of men to all appearances lacking in number and quality. He bade this little flock not to lose heart, for, thanks to His constant assistance, through Him and with Him, they would overcome the world. Jesus has also taught us that the kingdom of God has an intrinsic and unobservable dynamism which enables it to grow 'without [man's] knowing it.' The harvest of God's kingdom is great, but the laborers, as in the beginning, are few. Actually, they have never been as numerous as human standards would have judged sufficient. But the heavenly King demands that we pray 'the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.'" (Pope Paul VI, 1967 A.D.)

"Can. 233 §1 It is the duty of the whole Christian community to foster vocations so that the needs of the sacred ministry are sufficiently met in the entire Church. In particular, this duty binds Christian families, educators and, in a special way, priests, especially parish priests. Diocesan Bishops, who must show the greatest concern to promote vocations, are to instruct the people entrusted to them on the importance of the sacred ministry and the need for ministers in the Church. They are to encourage and support initiatives to promote vocations, especially movements established for this purpose. §2 Moreover, priests and especially diocesan Bishops are to be solicitous that men of more mature years who believe they are called to the sacred ministries are prudently assisted by word and deed and are duly prepared." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"The lack of vocations in families of the middle and upper classes may be partly explained by the dissipations of modern life, the seductions, which especially in the larger cities, prematurely awaken the passions of youth; the schools in many places which scarcely conduce to the development of vocations. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that such a scarcity reveals a deplorable falling off of faith in the families themselves. Did they indeed look at things in the light of faith, what greater dignity could Christian parents desire for their sons, what ministry more noble, than that which, as We have said, is worthy of the veneration of men and angels? A long and sad experience has shown that a vocation betrayed - the word is not to be thought too strong - is a source of tears not only for the sons but also for the ill-advised parents; and God grant that such tears be not so long delayed as to become eternal tears." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

"The duty of fostering vocations pertains to the whole Christian community, which should exercise it above all by a fully Christian life. The principal contributors to this are the families which, animated by the spirit of faith and love and by the sense of duty, become a kind of initial seminary, and the parishes in whose rich life the young people take part. Teachers and all those who are in any way in charge of the training of boys and young men, especially Catholic associations, should carefully guide the young people entrusted to them so that these will recognize and freely accept a divine vocation. All priests especially are to manifest an apostolic zeal in fostering vocations and are to attract the interest of youths to the priesthood by their own life lived in a humble and industrious manner and in a happy spirit as well as by mutual priestly charity and fraternal sharing of labor." (Second Vatican Council)

"[A]ll should do their utmost to increase the ranks of strong and zealous workers in the vineyard of the Lord; the more so, as the moral needs of society are growing greater instead of less. Of all the means to this noble end, the easiest and the most effective is prayer. This is, moreover, a means within the power of everyone. It should be assiduously used by all, as it was enjoined by Jesus Christ Himself: 'The harvest, indeed, is great but the laborers are few. Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that He send forth laborers into His harvest.' What prayer could be more acceptable to the Sacred Heart of our Savior? What prayer is more likely to be answered as promptly and bounteously as this, which meets so nearly the burning desire of that Divine Heart?' 'Ask therefore, and it will be given unto you'; ask for good and holy priests and Our Lord will not refuse to send them to His Church, as ever He has done throughout the centuries. It has been, in fact, precisely in times which seemed least propitious, that the number of priestly vocations increased." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

Also See: The Calling to Religious Life | Candidates | Seminaries / Seminarians / Training / Formation | Better a Few Good Priests Than Many That Are Not Good | Priests / Priesthood [Pg.] | Praise / Rewards / Benefits | Duties & Responsibilities of Priests | Holy Orders (Sacraments Reflections) | Are You Called to Religious Life? | Why Priestly Celibacy? | Religious Institutes For Men | Top Reasons Why Women Can't Be Priests | The Religious Life For Women | Prayers for Priests / Vocations | Misc. Priests / Vocations Facts

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Better a Few Good Priests Than Many That Are Not Good

Also See: Priests (Topic Page)

"It is better to have a few ministers who are upright and effective, than many who labor in vain to build up the Church." (Pope Benedict XIV, "Ubi Primum", 1710 A.D.)

"God never so abandons His Church that apt ministers are not to be found sufficient for the needs of the people, if the worthy be promoted and the unworthy set aside. And though it were impossible to find as many ministers as there are now, it were better to have few good ministers than many bad ones, as the blessed Clement declares in his second epistle to James the brother of the Lord." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church") [Note: The term "brother" does not mean that James was a blood brother, which of course he isn't since Mary is an ever virgin. This term may be used to refer to cousins or to other relatives, or to "brothers in the faith".]

Also See: Good / Bad Priests [Pg.] | People Tend to Be of Same Quality as Their Priests | Fostering Vocations

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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