The following is a listing of Ten Practical Things that the average Catholic can undertake to help promote Priestly Vocations. I was asked by a member of the Faithful to compose this list to give parishioners a better idea of what they can do to help encourage priestly vocation.
The basic formula is simple. A young man discerning his vocation in life wants something worth living for, worth giving his life for. It is no wonder that the seminaries were so full 100 years ago, when the Faith and the Church were loved, admired, and respected by the Faithful. We still love, admire, and respect the Faith, but it often takes a back-seat to modern, secular living. The antidote to this requires a paradigm shift—a concerted effort on the part of Christian Faithful to turn back to the Faith of the Church in a radical way, to rekindle the flames of enthusiastic life in the Spirit, to demonstrate in a measurable way that which we all believe and know to be true—that the Holy Priesthood is worth it!
Learn: Develop a decent understanding of the theology and significance of the Priesthood. You can’t promote something that you don’t know anything about!
Live the Faith: A good priest encourages his parishioners to live the Faith in a radical way. Live the Faith as an example to young men that priests do make a difference!
Talk about the Faith: Excitement about the Faith leads to excitement about dedicating one’s life to spreading the Faith. Don’t be bashful about proclaiming the Faith. It’ll rub off on others!
Be Catholic: Liberal/Conservative, Traditionalist/Progressive...these are all ideological spins on the Faith that cause more division and confusion than anything else. Unreserved conformity to the orthodox Faith of the Church is the single-greatest contributor to increasing vocations.
Be Serious: No one is willing to give his life to something that isn’t important. If you don’t take your Faith and Salvation seriously, neither will the younger generation.
Encourage Young People: Invite young men to consider the priesthood as a real, feasible, and achievable alternative to married life.
Give Exposure: Expose young men to good, enthusiastic, happy, holy priests as examples of what they can aspire to. Sad to say, but not every priest is a good example of priesthood. Seek out the good ones, whose lifestyles and ministries are attractive as possibilities for young men.
Get Organized: Join a group dedicated to promoting vocations, such as the Serra Club. If there isn’t a group like that near you, start one!
Support: Give support to seminarians (spiritual and financial). Even a simple card with an assurance of prayers is invaluable. Well-prayed-for seminarians make for healthy, happy, and holy priests who inspire vocations (see #7).
Pray: Offer daily prayers for an increase of young men to answer the call of the Lord. Put together spiritual bouquets of prayers, request Masses, attend Holy Hours, all for the intentions of increased vocations. It works!