LONDON, MAY 27, 2005 (Zenit.org).- A new campaign to promote vocations in England and Wales is taking a step into new territory, that of life outside of church buildings.
This summer the bishops’ National Office for Vocations in England and Wales is running a series of ads on beer mats and on posters in the London Underground, making this the first time the Church has actively publicized priesthood outside of church buildings.
Following the death of Pope John Paul II on April 2, and with the recent airing of “Monastery” on BBC2, a reality show that tracked the spiritual journey of five men of various faiths who spent 40 days living the life of monks in a Benedictine abbey, there was a noticeable increase in the number of inquiries about the priesthood and religious life.
Regarding this increased interest, Father Paul Embery, director of the vocations office, which is responsible for the campaign, said: “We are trying to develop that into something more long-term.”
“Previously we have only advertised within the Church,” he noted. “By taking the campaign into other areas of young people’s lives, we are hoping it will give them something to think about and keep the interest high.”
Asked if it was appropriate for the Church to advertise vocations to the priesthood in this way, Father Embery said: “Pope John Paul didn’t spend all his time in the Vatican. He went out, and took his message to where people were. We can do something similar to encourage young men to think about the priesthood.”
The beer mats, while commercially available, will also be used at social events where there are gatherings of Catholic young people, such as World Youth Day this August in Cologne.