To the editor:
According to the May 5 cover article, “Who will answer the call?”, priests at the Convocation discussed and gave a list of “forces obstructing vocations.” In reality these are symptoms. The list of “things the diocese could do better to encourage vocations” are superficial. Is there no one among the gathered priests to point out that the socialization of the Eucharist, regrettably, has taken a toll on spiritual fervor. Might this have a bearing on lagging vocations?
The noisy chit-chat prior to Mass and immediately at the conclusion stifles the possibility of prayerful preparation for encounter with Eucharistic Mystery, or after receiving Holy Communion to reverently reflect on and thank God for the wonder of it all. In some congregations gathered for the Eucharistic celebration, the noisy atmosphere is that of a people anticipating a sports event! The noise pollution infecting society has penetrated the sacred walls of the church. You priests and pastors, unfortunately, allow it. This is not the kind of environment in which the seeds of religious vocations are planted.
The respectful reverence of what was once disciplined church protocol, which encouraged prayerful silence, is gone for the most part. Where are the pastors who will silence a noisy congregation? Or correct disrespectful misbehavior? Or remind of need for modest wearing apparel? For instance, at a youth Mass at a local church a young lady wore a spaghetti strap dress, yet was allowed to serve Holy Communion! If the pastor does not set limits and reign in the abuses, nobody will. It is sad to say that many of our people today have the mind set that church is no different than a social meeting hall.
Where large numbers of priest vocations are happening, the church is considered holy ground. Their faith formation is imbued with traditional, orthodox practices and devotions out of which grows and develops sturdy faith, spiritual vitality and evangelistic zeal. It is out of such sacred spiritual soil that priestly vocations are harvested.