The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

A vocations boom?

It may be too soon to tell, but there are some encouraging signs around the country, beginning in California:

From a young age, Juan Alejo has aspired to live a priest’s life.

“Since I was a kid, I heard this call,” said Alejo.


Now the 35-year-old, who is heeding that summons by attending St. Patrick’s Seminary & University in Menlo Park, is among a growing number of men flocking to seminaries in recent years to become Roman Catholic priests.

That growth is prompting the school to plan for a major campus expansion that could cost up to $50 million.

The increase in seminarians at St. Patrick’s reflects an uptick in their numbers nationwide after decades of enrollment declines. The number of men interested in joining the priesthood is rising despite highly publicized cases of sexual abuse by priests.

“It’s a national thing we’re experiencing,” the Rev. James McKearney, St. Patrick’s president, said of the upward trend in those pursuing priesthood.


“There’s been a lot of anxiety in light of the fact that the church has been getting a lot of bad press,” McKearney said, “but the vast majority of priests are good men. (St. Patrick’s seminarians) want to be good priests as opposed to those who haven’t lived their vows. They are not dissuaded by the bad press.”

In the coming academic year, St. Patrick’s is expected to have more than 100 seminarians following a steady rise since 2006 when it served 88 students.

The projected enrollment includes 34 new students, according to the school.

“We haven’t seen that in many years,” McKearney said. “It’s an exciting time.”

Mary Verducci, St. Patrick’s project manager for institutional advancement, partly attributed that population surge to a growing confidence in the seminary’s Sulpician approach to priestly ordination. That approach includes participation in daily prayers and other spiritual exercises.


Seminarians are also drawn to the school’s high academic standards and multicultural student body, Verducci said.

“Right now, we’re at maximum capacity,” she said.

Can you believe it? 

Check out what’s happening in other dioceses at the link.
Comments read comments(1)
post a comment

posted August 11, 2010 at 3:28 pm

What fantastic news about the increased number of vocations! I recently read a book regarding God’s vocational calling: Extraordinary Ordinary Lives. The vocation stories are powerful and moving. I sure wish God would speak to me as clearly as he seems to have spoken to this young seminarian, Juan Alejo, and to so many others. I pray that I may open myself up to God’s calling in my life.

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz ...

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives! ...

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below. ...

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The ...

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy. ...

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.