Lowcountry South Carolina Catholic diocese implements robust new strategy to recruit priests

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It took two years, but the Catholic Diocese of Charleston has put in place a strategy where no strategy was before. It’s a special kind of outreach — or maybe it should be called inreach. Through aggressive use of social media, as well as regular visits to Catholic schools, parishes and other institutions in the state, diocese officials are hoping to find and encourage future priests....

[new Bishop Robert] Guglielmone made it clear early on that he would place a renewed emphasis on vocations: searching the state for people who feel called to a life as deacons, priests and women religious.

Priests are badly needed. The total number in the U.S. has declined from about 58,000 in 1965 to 39,000 in 2011, according to data compiled by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), an affiliate of Georgetown University.

Read it all from the local paper.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* South Carolina

Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Already Gone wrote:

The Diocese of Arlington, where I reside has a similar program, which has been very successful.  Our parish recently hosted the Diocesen-wide vocations Mass for eighth graders.  The Diocese of Charleston is also home to several former Episcopal/Anglican priests who are now Catholic priests, as well as the soon-to-be first priest ordained into the Anglican Ordinariate in the United States.

May 15, 1:01 pm | [comment link]
2. Br. Michael wrote:

I hope they are successful and raise up high quality dedicated men of God.

May 15, 2:21 pm | [comment link]
3. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

I remember the Diocese of Knoxville when I was in the Catholic High School there always had a vocations week during the school year. I guess it worked in reverse, as I became an Anglican priest.

May 15, 7:15 pm | [comment link]
4. Charles52 wrote:

Our diocese has gone from 13 to around 30 men in formation for ordination since 2005. We have gone from 1 ordination on a good year to 3 our even 4 every year.  It certainly helps to have a robustly orthodox (if not charismatic) bishop, but the key seems to be the attention he gives them. He meets them early in the process and spends tome on them. They get regular phone calls and he’ll fly down to where most of them are in seminary to have lunch and visit. Golly, he acts like my dad when I was in school.

May 15, 8:45 pm | [comment link]
5. Charles52 wrote:

Archer, maybe those vocation weeks worked quite well.

May 15, 8:46 pm | [comment link]
6. MichaelA wrote:

“The number of ordinations also has declined by more than 50 percent during the same period, from nearly 1,000 in 1965 to 467 last year.”

Hence why the Ordinariate will have a very useful side-effect: bringing in experienced priests who need little cross-training. 

Perhaps that was always its main purpose: The pastoral provision of JPII resulted in less than 10 Anglican Use congregations -infinitessimally small - but its real advantage to the RCC was the large number of priests who transferred over through it.  The Ordinariate will be greatly appreciated for the same reason.

May 16, 11:02 pm | [comment link]
7. Charles52 wrote:

Actually, the Anglican Use brought in only about 80 - 100 priests over 30 years. I think about that many are in formation for the American Ordinariate. These are not large numbers, of course,  but the men I have known are really good priests and often proving a leaven in their diocese.  So yes, the impact is on the Catholic Church, and for the good.

May 17, 12:03 am | [comment link]
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