I have just been looking at a leaflet published by the Diocese of Lincoln in Nebraska, USA. It is an appeal from their former bishop, the Most Reverend Fabian Bruskewitz, for funds towards the cost of training the diocese's seminarians. The bishop had good reason for appealing for this cause, as I suspect that the Diocese of Lincoln might have the highest costs of any diocese in the world for training its priests.
In the centre fold of this leaflet, which is a couple of years old now, are the photographs of all the seminarians of the Diocese of Lincoln in the year 2010-2011. They are 41 in number. I understand that there are now 44. Looking at the photographs, there are only two who look as if they could be over the age of 30.
So it seems unlikely that there will be any shortage of priests in the Lincoln Diocese during the next 50 or so years.
When asked why the Diocese of Lincoln was so successful in attracting priestly vocations, Bishop Bruskewitz said that it was all down to payer. Although I am sure that this is part of the answer, I suspect that another part is to do with the way that the bishop has run the diocese. He always expected his priests, to set a good example in their holiness, and insisted that all liturgies were carried out with great reverence and dignity. It is noticeable that every one of the seminarians is very smartly turned out and in full clerical dress.
Maybe there are some bishops this side of the Atlantic who could learn from Bishop Bruskewitz. Maybe we would not have such a shortage of priests this side of the Atlantic if our bishops had started to follow the example of Bishop Bruskewitz twenty years ago.
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