Counting Blessings… Revisited

Nil desperandum! Never despair!

We have reason to celebrate.

12+ years ago when I first started to get the clue that what was being handed to me as “Catholic” in school was not kosher, what resources did I have? Now we have the net, more orthodox books being written and more reprinted than EVER before in history.

Thousands of Catholic websites and resources for teaching, apologetics, spirituality, Church history…

In 2 years the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter will turn 20 – they are celebrating ordinations monthly. I am no insider, but from what I hear, their seminary in Nebraska – Our Lady of Gudalupe – is bursting at the seems. (Same too for their German seminary). Senior seminarians are graciously agreeing to “double bunk” in rooms intended to be single rooms for senior seminairians… and that was built way back… oh, 9 years ago?

It was full the day building was complete.

The Norbertines in Orange County are having a vocations crunch- they are too crunched in to a small property and need a BIGGER place…

In less time than the most orders have been around Bl. Theresa of Calcutta’s Missionaries of Charity have grown to over 4,500 nuns and is active in 133 countries. The numbers of the priests and brothers are ALSO growing.

The Diocese of Arlington is about to have more priests than rectories to put them in. What to do? They do have a “Vocations crunch” too… They have 60 parishes… “Of those 60 parishes, only 42 are now staffed by diocesan priests. “We’ll ordain 22 men in the next 14 months,” Father Gould the vocations director points out. “The real problem will be finding 22 beds for them.

The Archdiocese of Newark recently did ordain 17 men to the priesthood.

So did the Archdiocese of Denver

Do you know what else Denver, Newark & Arlington have in common? For all their vocations, none of them can be found on the list of the top-12 diocese with the highest seminarian to Catholic ratio which includes:

1. Lincoln ( 38/93,988)
2. Juneau (2/5473)
3. Tulsa (17/55,462)
4. Rapid City (7/25,729)
5. Cheyenne (13/49,121)
6. Duluth (18/68,037)
7. Peoria (43/174,008)
8. Denver (93/384,611)
9. Wichita (28/120,527)
10. Lexington (11/48,070)
11. Tyler (14/61,390)
12. Bismarck (14/62,898)
13. Fargo (18/82,891)
14. Nashville (15/69,400)
15. Spokane (21/97,655)
16. Pensacola-Tallahassee (14/65,209)
17. Memphis (14/67,342)
18. Mobile (14/67,434)
19. Yakima (16/77,149)
20. Sioux City (17/87,528)

In the past 20 years over 1000 Orthodox clerics – the descendants of the crushed Greek Catholic unia – have returned to Rome and they built a new university in Ukraine…. You would not have seen this many seminarians in the Greek Catholic seminaries of Eastern Europe 20 years ago. Well, you would not have seen a Greek Catholic seminary period. It was illegal to be a Greek Catholic in many places 20 years ago.

In the past 20 years over 500+ Evangelical ministers have joined the ranks of the Scott Hahn march to Rome sweet home…

In the past 20 years over 400 ministers of the Anglican communion have “poped.”

Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist haven’t finished building their new motherhouse yet and are already almost out of room…

The Nashville Dominicans report they have more Sisters than ever in their 142-year history – median age is 36…

There are now over 16.8K permanant deacons in the US. On balance, we have MORE clergy in the US than we did 40 years ago when they are counted. They are not priests, but they are under the grace of Holy Orders and many of them are working doing amazing things… Currently there are 3.5K men in various stages of formation. It is reasonable to expect that there will be over 20,000 deacons in the US within 10 years.

Not Too Shabby Greek Catholics is an article that points to the growth of the diaconate in 2007 among the Byzantine Catholic (Ruthenian) parishes in the US. The Eparchy (Diocese) of Van Nuys now enjoys the distinction of having the highest deacons to faithful ratio in America.

Community Of St. John: 32 Years, 500 Members & Growing is another well kept secret in America… founded in 1975 by five or six university students under the guidance of a Dominican priest, Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe. They are now a Congregation of diocesan right, approved by the Church, with over five hundred members, about two hundred of whom are priests. Not extremely well known in the US, I believe they soon will be. They have set up in NJ and Texas and by all accounts they are doing land-office business in attracting new vocations.

Also from France, but not yet here in the US… The Canons of Lagrasses. These worthy gents have just (as of 2004) moved into and begun to restore an ancient abbey in France that was looted and closed during the French Revolution. They are the Canons of Lagrasse.

The seminarians that are in place to become priests in the US are a rather impressive breed these days. Gone are the watered down, effete guys who seem like they would do better as social workers..

I give you some of the seminarians from the Diocese of Saginaw:

And the gals that make a cameo? They are The Intercessors of the Lamb a community that was erected May 27, 1998, as a Public Association of the Christian Faithful. They now have over 65 members and are going rather strong. They include sisters, brothers and priests. They pray for priests and are involved in family formation.

The Missionaries of the Poor: “The Missionaries of the poor is an international monastic order of Brothers dedicated to Joyful Service with Christ on the Cross to serve the poorest of the poor. The order was started in 1981 by Father Richard HoLung and has now grown to over 300 brothers.”

Here is a list of orders that are growing and that celebrate the Tridentine Mass (a rite the most of the bishops in dying diocese would likely cross the street to avoid!):

* Monks of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel
* Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem
* Canons Regular of the Mother of God
* Religious Institute of the Holy Cross of Riaumont
* Benedictines – Triors
* Benedictines – St. Pierre de Clairac
* Benedictines – Randol
* Benedictines – Le Barroux
* Benedictines – Gaussan
* Benedictines – Fontgombault
* Benedictines – Clear Creek
* Institute of St. Philip Neri
* Fraternity of St. Vincent Ferrer
* Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest

One such group, consists of a group of priests and faithful who were fully and wholly reconciled to the Holy See under Pope John Paul II.
* Apostolic Adminstration of St. John Mary Vianney


Exciting new movements?
*Miles Jesu
*Heralds of the Gospel

Watch This: Vocations Crisis – Is There One?

There are movements in Asia, Africa, Latin America and parts of Europe that are not even much discussed in English language media of any sort. Things we don’t know about at all. There are things in China, Vietnam and Korea happening while we sleep that we are not the least bit privy to.

The OSJ fathers isn Nigeria

Divine Word ordinations in the Phillipines

Opus Dei in Rome

Dominicans in Poland

Passionists in the Phillipines

Dominicans in the Phillipines

Keep your eyes on the prize, brothers and sisters – Catholics are called to joy even in suffering. But at times, if you look closely, you can be fortunate enough to notice, it is not all suffering.


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