We have been reading about the “vocations crisis” for years. What are we going to do about it?
We need, first, to adopt an attitude of biblical realism. This kind of realism is based on the power and the love of God: “Can God do all things?” asked the Baltimore Catechism. The answer: “Yes, God can do all things, for nothing is hard or impossible for Him.” It is still true.
It is not at all unrealistic for the parish council and the entire parish to take a stand in the Spirit that they will always have a full complement of priests to minister to their spiritual needs. In doing this, we are not looking to the bishop or to the personnel board of the archdiocese to answer our prayer, but to Jesus Christ.
If we adopt biblical realism, there is quite a lot we could do in the way of fervent prayer — for starters. We could as a parish observe the Ember Days, which were three days set aside for prayer and fasting for priests at the beginning of every season. We could go on regular pilgrimages throughout the year, walking to parishes eight or 10 miles away, saying the rosary — which is another way of undergirding our prayer with sacrifice. We could fast from TV and internet — a direct hit against one of the chief enemies of the faith and vocations to the priesthood and religious life: The Culture of Distraction.
We could show God our gratitude for the priesthood by receiving the sacraments more frequently.