Monday, December 29, 2008

Behind the Collar ~ An inside look at life as a priest

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has a fine new website called "behind the collar - An inside look at life as a priest" This is a new promotional site that will be extremely helpful for young men who are discerning a call to the priesthood because it answers many of the basic questions a person might have concerning such a vocation.

You will find an interesting article written by Steve Neill in the December 29, 2008 issue of The Catholic Virginian concerning this new online campaign by our diocese. Apparently it is the first of its kind in the nation.

behind the collar contains videos with comments shared by Richmond seminarians on a variety of topics pertaining to their journey toward priesthood. The site also links the prospective candidate to the social networking sites, Facebook and MySpace, where you can be in contact with Fr. Michael Renninger and others. Fr. Mike is Vicar for Vocations for the Diocese of Richmond and can be reached there with this email address:

Take a look! What do you think?


standing maryanna said...

I'm really surprised that Richmond people have not bothered to respond to this post. On the other now defunct Richmond blogs, there were constant complaints and criticisms about how the diocese wasn't doing anything right as far as attracting young men for priesthood.

Here, the diocese has made a fine effort to recruit young men and not a word has been written to congratulate those folks who came up with this idea; and no encouragement is being given that the diocese is on the right track.


Mark said...

Dear Standing Maryanna:

The "Behind the Collar" website is truly innovative and informative, and the diocese deserves to be congratulated for this fine effort.

Looking at this problem from a historical perspective, the seminary is the place where vocations are examined and then allowed to continue or not. This website lists St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore (not to be confused with the Mount St. Mary's seminary) as one of the two places where this diocese sends its seminarians to. We should ask then, what are the criteria by which the seminary faculty judge one's fitness for the priesthood?

I would ask at least these questions:

Does a seminarian's psychological evaluation consider his commitment to a lifelong, 24/7, celibate life?

What are the psychological criteria by which a vocation is thought not to exist?

Are traditional devotions (such as adoration, rosary, stations of the cross, etc) encouraged?

Is frequent confession encouraged?

What is the faculty's and the seminarian's stand on Resurrection and Real Presence?

Is the faculty and the seminarian committed to male priesthood?

Is the Papacy acknowledged as the rock upon which Christ founded His Church, by both the seminarian and the faculty?

What is the faculty's and the seminarian's stand on contraception?

Will the seminarians learn to say both forms of the Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary)?

Will they learn Latin, or Spanish only?

In my opinion, the answers to such questions are decent predictors of the future vocations in this diocese.

standing maryanna said...

Hello Mark,

Yours was a thoughtful post... Perhaps someone who has actually passed through these seminaries could answer some of your questions. Might make for an interesting discussion.

Stu said...

I think it misses the mark. It leads with the notion that priests are just "regular guys" like everyone else. Well, they are certainly men and have similar interests but they aren't regular. Calling a man to the priesthood should be about the sacrifice, the mystery, the hardship, the Sacraments and the dignity of the office. Holiness and orthodoxy attract. But if the priesthood is just a job that any "regular guy" can do, then no one will choose to do it.

Mark said...

Stu's post reminded me of this famous quote from Winston Churchill in the early days of World War II:

"We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime."

It may be counterintuitive, but physical and spiritual struggle, blood, and guts attract men.