Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 26, 2010
Cell phone helps young men hear call to priesthood
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
ALLENTOWN, PA. - Allentown Bishop John Barres has taken a new approach to fostering vocations to the priesthood: making sure young men personally receive a call.
One morning recently, many college-age men received phone calls or voice mail messages from Barres or two other diocesan priests asking them to consider a vocation to the priesthood.
"In this phase of the vocation initiative- Hearing His Call - the focus has been on helping young men consider that the Lord might be calling them to this wonderful vocation," said Father Andrew Gehringer, diocesan director of vocations.
In response to the idea, Gehringer and Father Scott Ardinger composed a list of names and cell phone numbers of more than 35 young men.
The priests listed those "who have either thought about the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood or who just have the good qualities and natural goodness that we are looking for in possible candidates for the priesthood," Gehringer said.
Gehringer said the men were surprised when either he or Ardinger made the initial contact with them telling them the bishop would like to speak to them.
"A few of the men, naturally as college students, were actually sleeping at the time of the initial contact made by Father Ardinger or myself. However, some of the men actually expected the call," he said.
"But to get that one-on-one time with the bishop, who spoke to them about how their semester was going and how they were doing in their prayer life and discernment of their vocation, was the biggest surprise," he continued.
Such personal contact "is crucial" in the bishop's mind, he added.
"To form a culture of vocations, we need to cultivate the soil of the minds and hearts of our young people with the knowledge that God has wonderful plans for them," Gehringer said.
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