An Archdiocesan Vocations Committee has been formed in Wellington Archdiocese to look at ways to raise the profile of priestly vocations, explore the promotion of vocations among young people, and assist in accompanying those who are considering priesthood.
Writing in his newsletter, dated July 9, Cardinal John Dew stated that the committee, formed a few months ago, is now working with archdiocese vocations director Fr David Dowling.
Cardinal Dew referred to “this group of generous people, consisting of three women and two priests . . .”.
The cardinal admitted in the newsletter that this “is a difficult time in our history to be asking people to think about vocations to the priesthood and religious life”.
“The sexual abuse scandals have rocked the Church throughout the world and continue to do so,” he said.
“It is hard to talk to young men about the possibility of priesthood when they hear so much about how so many have been abused and betrayed by those they should have been able to trust.”
“However, the call to priesthood must be talked about,” the cardinal wrote.
“It is still a rewarding and very satisfying life. It is a life of service and brings with it the incredible privilege of walking alongside others in all aspects of their lives.
It gives those of us who are priests the chance to try to be the presence of Christ to others . . . and that is a privilege and a blessing that I cannot put into words.
“Even in the midst of a Church in disarray and disappointment the call to priesthood is obviously still there.”
Cardinal Dew asked if Vocations Awareness Week (August 4-11) would be “any different for us from any other week of the year?”
“Will our parishes, schools and colleges do something special to encourage teenagers and young adults to think about the possibility of priesthood and religious life? Will parents mention it as a possibility to their sons and daughters? Do the priests who read this newsletter regularly ask young men if they have thought about priesthood as a possibility?”
The cardinal asked for prayers in support of the work of the Archdiocesan Vocations Committee. He also asked readers of the newsletter to “please reflect on how you could invite suitable young men to consider priesthood”.