The Catholic Church in Britain is set increase the number of men studying for the priesthood by targeting ethnic minorities.
This course of action follows a fact-finding trip to the US, where a UK delegation learnt about the steps that have been taken to encourage more Hispanics to consider the priesthood as a vocation.
Fr Stephen Langridge, Chairman of the Conference of Diocesan Directors of Vocation of England and Wales, was a member of the group that visited the US in September. He said, “The Catholic Church in our country has been greatly enriched by immigrants in recent years. Many families from Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa are very strong in the faith. We want to help the young men in these families to recognise that God may be calling them to serve as priests in their new homeland. Sometimes, if they don’t see priests from their ethnic group in their parishes, they can lose heart. We need their ministry!”
Other ways of encouraging more men to take up vocations were looked at during a recent annual meeting of Catholic vocation directors. These included: relaunching the popular ukpriest.org website; special assemblies for 10- and 11-year-olds, and resourcing parish priests, who are seen as the main promoters of the “culture of vocation”.