Good Shepherd Sunday - World Day of Prayer for Vocations

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JW
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Good Shepherd Sunday - World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Post by JW » Mon May 16, 2011 6:35 pm

As part of the sermon last Sunday, it was pointed out that our Diocese (Southwark) had 1 ordination to the priesthood last year and will have 1 again this year. This puzzled me, given the upbeat count of seminarians in England & Wales that the Vatican published just prior to the Papal Visit. So I checked the position in the Soutwark Directory.

Sure enough, the statistics section states that there are 20 candidates for the Diocesan Priesthood. Now, I thought that the diocesan directories used to list numbers of ordinations but cannot find this in Southwark. Surely it is misleading to give numbers of seminarians without giving the number of ordinations - or is this a case of the Bishops Conference not wanting to give the Vatican (or the person in the pew) an unduly pessimistic picture?

There is a photo of yours truly with about 50 others in his Junior Seminary about 1963 - I think only 1 out of the 50 was ordained.

Was going to post this on the 'Economical with the Truth' topic - I suspect a similar mindset is at work within the Church.
JW

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Mithras
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Re: Good Shepherd Sunday - World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Post by Mithras » Mon May 16, 2011 8:00 pm

On "vocations": two years ago to the day I responed, though was unpublished,* to an article in The Tablet as follows -

"Has The Tablet adopted a definition of "vocation" narrower than what might be expected, given its progressive reputation? Last week we were told that ordinations to the diaconate "overtake vocations".

Hmm....

M

*having been granted an almost 100% record of non-publication by the Catholic press, and by The Tablet in particular, I feel that only derivative verse will suffice:

How odd:
The s*d
Eschews
My views.

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FrGareth
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Re: Good Shepherd Sunday - World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Post by FrGareth » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:33 pm

In my experience at seminary - and Wonersh was the official Southwark seminary - about a half of entrants make it through to ordination. So if Southwark is listed as having 20 men in training (allowing that those who leave aren't in training for as long as those who stay) this should result in 12-13 ordinations. These will be spaced out over possibly 7 years now that it is semi-standard to go to Valladolid for a prep year before 6 years in a major seminary. 13 divided by 7 is just under 2. This means that Southwark will occassionally have one ordination per year but more typically two... and the intake 6-7 years ago was especially thin. So these figures look spot on to me!

Gareth Leyshon - Dean of Students 2005-06 at St John's Seminary, Wonersh
><>
Revd Gareth Leyshon - Priest of the Archdiocese of Cardiff (views are my own)
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JW
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Re: Good Shepherd Sunday - World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Post by JW » Thu Jul 14, 2011 7:15 pm

Thanks for the clear explanation, FrGareth. It does look as though statistics quote seminarians rather than ordinations because it looks better :roll:

I also wonder whether the figure of 20 in the Southwark directory refers to the total seminarians in training in Valladolid and Wonersh, and therefore includes seminarians from Arundel and Brighton and other dioceses?
JW

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Re: Good Shepherd Sunday - World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Post by Calum Cille » Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:19 pm

The number of ordinations, or seminarians, doesn't concern me: the cost of living is what gets my attention. One report this year said that the average amount of money spent on a person in Britain up to the age of 21 is £271,499. The vocations situation isn't going to change quickly in a country where 1.7 is the average number of children per couple, 20% of couples having one child. (Immigration is apparently the preferred solution for making up the lost population at the young end. Some of the very people complaining most about immigration have small families). Won't such children grow up with a sense of obligation to provide a grandchild? Are Catholic parents with one male child, their only chance for a grandchild, going to be positive about the idea of celibacy and seminary?

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Re: Good Shepherd Sunday - World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Post by HallamPhil » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:54 am

I am told that in the middle ages there used to exist the practice of ordaining men without the extended training. These men would be upstanding within their local community but ordained only to provide Mass and would not be authorised to preach.

Without entering into a discussion of the 'elephant in the room' I do womder whether this might not be a way forward. However I am not yet convinced that we have too few priests. It could be also that the reduction in number would focus the activities of the ordained on the priestly responsibilities the extended training was expected to provide.

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Re: Good Shepherd Sunday - World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Post by alan29 » Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:57 pm

We had the "Vocations Holy Hour" the other Sunday, Pope's Jubilee etc.
It occurred to me that we should also be praying mightily for an increase in the vocations to the married state too. One of the reasons for the decline in attendance must surely be the increasingly high incidence of non-traditional families. I am convinced that marriage is as much a vocation as orders.

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Re: Good Shepherd Sunday - World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Post by FrGareth » Sat Jul 16, 2011 9:29 pm

JW wrote:I wonder whether the figure of 20 in the Southwark directory refers to the total seminarians in training in Valladolid and Wonersh, and therefore includes seminarians from Arundel and Brighton and other dioceses?

I doubt it, I suspect the current combined total for those two seminaries is now well over 20 - probably around the 40 mark.

Although Wonersh is the official Southwark seminary (and official A&B seminary), it takes students from across the south of England & Wales. If Southwark is publishing a number of seminarians, I am fairly sure it is the number of men currently in training who - if they complete their seminary and decide to go ahead - will be ordained as priests of the Southwark diocese in due course.
><>
Revd Gareth Leyshon - Priest of the Archdiocese of Cardiff (views are my own)
Personal website: http://www.garethleyshon.info
Parish website: http://www.sphilipevans.co.uk/

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