Inspiring resources to cultivate and nurture the next generation of priests.
When our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI visited our city in April 2008, he told the youth, “First of all my thoughts go to your parents, grandparents and godparents. They have been your primary educators in the faith. By presenting you for baptism, they made it possible for you to receive the greatest gift of your life. On that day you entered into the holiness of God himself. You became adoptive sons and daughters of the Father. You were incorporated into Christ. You were made a dwelling place of his Spirit. Let us pray for mothers and fathers throughout the world, particularly those who may be struggling in any way – socially, materially, spiritually. Let us honor the vocation of matrimony and the dignity of family life. Let us always appreciate that it is in families that vocations are given life.” (Meeting With Young People and Seminarians in Yonkers, NY, April 19, 2008)
The first words we’d like to offer to families echo that of our Holy Father: THANK YOU! Thank you for planting the seed of faith in your child. Thank you for doing your best in fostering their faith life. And now as they grow older, they feel called. As a parent or family member, you may have a mix of emotions, such as:
Happy and very supportive
No Way! – Not in my lifetime
I am not sure what this means.
All of the responses of a parent discovering their son’s desire to be a priest are normal and have been the experience of parents for many years.
In 2007, the Diocese of Brooklyn commissioned a study with St. John’s University to try and answer some of the important questions surrounding religious vocations. For instance, 76% of young adults turn to their religion to help them with daily problems. Our young adults pray! Even 73% of them pray at least once a day. We must then assume that young people, while they are caught-up in a crazy culture, have some sort of relationship with God. How many people actually think that? This is proof that the seeds of faith planted by families at a young age do take hold and grow into something beautiful.
It is the purpose of families to create an inviting environment that allows God to be present daily. The Lord continues to call men to the priesthood, but sometimes wrong impressions by family members can be given. For instance, most people think families would disapprove of religious vocations – service to the Church. When asked this question in the St. John’s study, 61% of the young adults said their families would encourage them to pursue a religious vocation; 59% said their desire would be taken seriously by family members. Families in fact do support vocations, but this does not mean that families are comfortable with the idea of a son, brother, grandson, nephew becoming a priest. However, it has also been noted that many families, while encouraging a son’s decision to discern a vocation, are not readily willing to ask their sons to consider a vocation. Parents are always looking for the best from their children. If the greatest gift you have given your child is faith, the greatest gift you can give to the Church is your son. And in all of this we continue to proclaim the great love that Jesus Christ has for each and every one of us.
This section is dedicated to you, the family members. Here you will be able to read the stories and opinions of family members of priests in the Diocese of Brooklyn.
We recognize that a family member discerning a call to priesthood can be a challenge for some. We invite you to use the resources of the Vocation Office to allow us to help you find the answers to questions you may have.