Some of our formators have just returned from Ormoc and Palompon after having conducted the opening salvo of the entrance exams for next school year. We would be conducting admission exams for the Saturdays of this month in various designated testing centers all throughout the Archdiocese. At this table this evening the discussion turned around the observation that the majority of the applicants came, not so much from Catholic schools, but from public institutions. This could also be observed in part with regards to the present population of the seminary. There are seminarians who are products of Catholic schools run by religious congregations, but there seem to be more who come from public schools.
It would be natural to suppose that vocations would come from institutions that offer Catholic education. It would be natural to suppose that more vocation would come from the ranks of altar servers in the parishes and in these same schools. But somehow, this--in my opinion, and if those whom I have spoken with-- does not seem to be the case. SOMETHING SEEMS TO BE AMISS.
Of course the problem concerning priestly vocations is intricate; it touches on many aspects, but I would like to focus on certain specific things. somebody voiced out--and I certainly agree with him, that THERE IS A CORRELATION WITH THE IDENTITY AND CATHOLICITY OF A CATHOLIC SCHOOL AND THE VOCATIONS THAT IT CULTIVATES. It is a correlation that could even be said to be necessary. Turning my eye to the parishes, it could be safely assumed that there ought to be vocations among the altar servers: proximity to the Sacrament of the Altar and to the priestly ministry, given the proper coordinates and conditions, should inspire somebody among the altar servers. If fact, this is one important end for which the Knights of the Altar exists: to encourage priestly vocations. This is another main reason why girls should not be allowed in this kind of apostolate. But there are fewer altar servers who are entering the seminary.
In the Archdiocese of Palo, if there are lesser applicants for the seminary coming from schools run by religious congregations, or schools that are Catholic in identity, if fewer altar servers are joining the ranks of the seminarians, IT'BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN REMISS IN SOME ASPECTS. Religious sisters, religious brothers, and parish priests need to do some serious soul-searching concerning this. HOW ARE OUR CATHOLIC SCHOOLS, YOUTH MINISTRIES AND SACRISTIES EFFECTIVE AND CONDUCIVE AS PRIMARY SEEDBEDS OF THE PRIESTLY VOCATION?