the Church in the 21st century for those of us who came from pre
Vatican 2 is a challenging image. We grew up with relatively few lay
people in the classroom in the 50’s.
Last week we linked to the paper on Vocations in Australia. The figures
are stark. In 1901 there were 4,205 religious in Australia. By 1966
there were 19,413 and in 2017 we are at 5,918. However the age of our
religious is creeping up – with 76% of religious women over 68 and
61% of men over 68.
More challenging is the figures that only 4% of religious women (about
110) and 10% of men 118 are under 48.
La Croix International has published an equally challenging report
on the Vocation crisis in Rome which you can read here.
Pope Francis last weekend ordained eleven new priests for the Diocese
of Rome. At a Mass in St Peter’s Basilica to celebrate the Fourth
Sunday of Easter, otherwise known as “Good Shepherd Sunday,” the pope
also ordained five other men for two different religious orders.
But only five of Rome’s 11 new priests are Italians, having done their
formation at the diocese’s major seminary. The other six who will be
incardinated into the pope’s diocese are non-Italians. They are members
of the Neo-Catechumenal Way.
Coinciding with the 55th annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations in
earlier-released message for the occasion, Francis
“Each one of us is called – whether to the lay life in marriage, to the
priestly life in the ordained ministry, or to a life of special
consecration – in order to become a witness of the Lord, here and now.”
Next week the Australian Bishops meet in Sydney for their Plenary
meeting. There is a busy agenda including consideration by the Bishops
to the Truth Justice and Healing response to the Royal Commission final
report. Other matters will include the election of a new President to
replace Archbishop Denis Hart.
Hopefully this report on vocations, will lead to a statement on the
inclusive role of laity in the Church particularly in the light of
employment survey published last year the Church agencies employ
219,734 full, part time and casual employees with the largest sectors
being education and health.
With every blessing,