ROME, NOV. 6, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The director of the Pontifical Pastoral Ministry for Priestly Vocations is affirming that 20 countries have seen an increase in priestly vocations over the past year.
Monsignor Francis Bonnici reported this at a conference of English and Welsh Vocations Directors, recently held at the Venerable English College in Rome.
He noted that England and Wales were among those that had seen an increase in the number of seminarians, but didn’t offer a list of the others.
The National Office for Vocations of the bishops’ conference of England and Wales reported in September over 40 men commenced seminary formation for the dioceses of England and Wales.
The priest urged the vocations directors to not be too “general” in promoting the priesthood.
He gave special emphasis to the ministerial priesthood, stating that a new document, planned to be released in 2011, will be published on this topic, drawing on the addresses of Benedict XVI.
After the conference, Monsignor Bonnici affirmed that the time with the vocations directors was “very enriching.”
He continued: “What struck me most was the great interest which they have in vocations to the priesthood.
“Looking at the table where there were the pamphlets and programs in print, I could notice that there is a true focus in the pastoral ministry for vocations. Listening to the discussions and talking to individuals, I felt that the promotion of vocation is very central to the directors.”
Some 18 priests from 16 dioceses attended the conference, and elected a new chairman of the vocations directors’ committee.
The new chairman, Father Stephen Langridge, stated, “Every diocese has to face up to the challenge of promoting priestly vocations and yet, in many places the vocations director is part-time.”
“As the newly elected chairman,” he affirmed, “I am very conscious of the importance of encouraging my fellow vocations directors and I look forward to working with them to develop new strategies for the promotion of priestly vocations particularly among the teenagers and younger men of our dioceses.”