The following comes from an August Angelus article by Father Steve Davoren and Father Sam Ward:
We both love sports. There is a curious thing in sports called momentum. It’s a mysterious phenomenon that’s hard to define, but you know it when you see it. Why is it that a team can go from being hopelessly inept at one point in a game to all of a sudden the players can do no wrong? And conversely, why is it that the other team suddenly can do nothing right? It’s vexing when you’re on the wrong side of momentum and exhilarating when it’s going your way.
Good or positive momentum builds on itself. So does bad momentum. Another way to put it: success breeds success.
These are helpful examples to show why vocations are booming in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. In recent years, we have seen great success in the increase in priestly vocations. The momentum is building and success continues to breed success.
As vocation directors, many people ask us why this is so. The answer is multifaceted:
› We rely always on the grace of God and the action of the Holy Spirit.
› We continually ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Priests and Religious, to intercede for us.
› Tons of Holy Hours and adoration and rosaries for vocations. Prayer is essential!
› Vocations are a main Pastoral Priority of Archbishop José H. Gomez. He is immensely supportive of vocations.
› Our team approach to vocations. Everyone is a stakeholder. We must all do our part to build a new a culture of vocations in the archdiocese.
› More and more priests are encouraging and inviting young people to consider the priesthood and religious life, and supporting them along the journey of discernment.
› Ninety-three current joyful and holy L.A. seminarians who inspire others to consider the priesthood, including 26 new seminarians this fall.
› Two seminaries (Juan Diego House and St. John’s) that are at or approaching capacity — a full seminary conveys the hope and promise that vocations are plentiful.
› Monthly discernment group meetings in each pastoral region, oftentimes with 15 to 20 discerners in attendance. Men aren’t showing up to discernment events that are deserted; they are full and vibrant.
› Men in discernment who are bonding as brothers even before they enter the seminary and support each other along the way. No one is alone in this process. One discerns with the Church and in the Church — accompaniment and fellowship are crucial.
It has been such a blessing in recent years to see classes of seven to nine men ordained as priests each spring, including nine new priests this past June 4. On Aug. 13, another seven were ordained as transitional deacons. Last October, we had 19 L.A. men in the first year of theology go through the formal Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders at St. John’s Seminary. These seminarians still have four more years of seminary formation to complete. Overall, it’s a long journey to become a priest.
Imagine if in 2020 all 19 of these men were ordained as priests for the archdiocese in the same year! That’s our hope and our reason for joy. Success is breeding success. The momentum in vocations is going strong. Let’s pray that by God’s grace this amazing trend continues.
In sports, good momentum may lead to a win that day or even an unlikely championship. Ours is a different momentum in the Church. It’s the grace of the Holy Spirit moving in the hearts of believers and inspiring many of them to lifelong service in the Church as priests or religious. And the results are not momentary, like hoisting a championship trophy or receiving an Olympic Gold Medal. They are much more important and lasting than that — growth in holiness and service in the Church in this life and one day life eternal in heaven.