Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 28, 2002
Vocations plan to emphasize youth
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
A continent-wide action plan to increase vocations to the ordained ministry and consecrated life will stress a preferential option for youth as a pastoral priority for the Church in North America.
The document is the fruit of the third Continental Congress on Vocations held in Montreal in April and will likely be published by the end of the year.
Father Raymond Lafontaine, who was a national co-chair of the congress, presented highlights of the strategy to boost vocations to Canadian bishops attending their annual assembly Oct. 17.
To make the preferential option for youth a reality, five activities or pastoral priorities need to be developed and need to be understood, he said. "The five priorities are to pray, to evangelize, to experience, to mentor and to invite."
Lafontaine said young people at the congress believe that for vocations work to be successful the North American Church may need to move out of a recruitment paradigm.
"It worked very well in a culture where everyone knew what a priest and what a religious was, (and) where most families were practising," he said.
Now, however, "The young people are telling us they want people who will walk with them and who will discern with them, and they stress they want to see us - bishops, priests, deacons, and consecrated men and women - as people of prayer."
Statistics at the congress revealed that there were about 13,000 religious and diocesan priests in Canada in 1978 but only 10,000 in 1999. The number of ordinations dropped from 62 in 1978 to 43 in 1999.