We have recently seen posters from other dioceses using similar images with boys. While they are endearing and clever, and no doubt might grab the interest of the faithful at large, in our opinion they do not adequately depict the mission that our Office of Vocations wants to convey.
The mission of the Diocese of Arlington Office of Vocations is …
… to seek out men and women of prayer called to witness the faith with courage, teach with clarity and serve with charity as priests and consecrated religious. We focus on the restoration of all things in Christ through prayer, hard work, generosity and sacrifice. We foster the formation of men and women deeply rooted in an abiding love for Jesus Christ, especially in His Eucharistic Presence and for our Blessed Mother, so they may become holy laborers for the Kingdom who come to ‘serve’, not ‘to be served’.
Also, the statement “No One Is Born a Priest” contradicts the truth that each person is imbued with their vocation at conception. In that regard, each priest-to-be IS “born” a priest though not formed as yet as one.
Although these are eye-catching images of boys dressed up as priests, Father prefers to hold up images of men who are presently responding to the Lord's call. His experience has taught him that those who are possibly being called to the priesthood are much more likely to act upon those promptings after seeing images of mature men with whom they can more easily identify.
You know, she is right. Young men discerning the priesthood will not be drawn to this poster. But that is not the point of this campaign. This campaign is aimed at the rest of us. It is aimed at the parents, teachers, and friends of potential priests. One of the biggest obstacles to men considering the priesthood is the lack of support they get from family and friends. The words of Pope Benedict in conjunction with this image remind each of us that vocations don’t just happen. They must be fostered and nurtured.
I know that our diocese has been successful in recruiting candidates for the priesthood. I guess the office of vocations feels it is someone else’s mission to cultivate a vocation friendly environment within families. I am just not sure who that someone else is.
UPDATE: I do want to emphasize that Bishop Loverde understands very well that families must nurture vocations. He makes this a theme of every Confirmation Mass homily.