At a recent clergy conference, I heard a retired parishpriest put forward one idea for stimulating vocations which I feel deserves general consideration.
It was that the younger priests and the younger professed religious, women included, be given an expenses-paid Monday-to-Friday annual visit to their home parishes where they were well-known to the people, especially to their own generation and to boys and girls still at school.
During this home-visit, the young parishioners, perhaps in appropriate age-groups, would be invited by the parish priest to an informed social-cum-talk on the life and work of a diocesan priest or of the respective religious order, given by one who was once their fellow parishioner, with the opportuni
ty to chat personally with him or her and ask questions.
A separate get-together could he arranged for older noncourting parishioners in the hope that some of these might find they had a "late" vocation.
The advantage or this idea is that all these lay Catholics, young or not-so-young, would he contacted, not by a strangerpriest Or religious, but by someone they know personally, who learned and played with them at school, who served with them as altarboys, who was "one o' we", as the phrase has it. And the important purpose of the operation is that it must be Church-wide — to win a latent genuine vocation for any diocese or order, not necessarily and selfishly for the diocese or order of the visiting priest or religious.