6th Sunday in OT (B)
February 9, 2021
Restructuring of the AEC Commissions
February 9, 2021

Priest deeply worried by vocation crisis


As he celebrated his third priestly anniversary, January 28,  Fr Carl Philadelphia shared he is “deeply worried” about his Diocese. “There’s a crisis that nobody is talking about. It’s not abuse. Neither is it about politics nor about a cover-up of injustices. It is the vocation crisis in the Diocese of Georgetown,” Fr Carl said, according to a Catholic Standard report.

He commented that the Diocese is “struggling” to find young people who are willing to answer their call to a vocation in the Church. Moreover, many of the faithful, young and old, treat discernment of vocations as a bother, instead of a necessity, he observed.

A vocation, Fr Carl explained, is a calling. For Catholics, it means the state of life God asks us to live—holiness.

“Holiness is living constantly in the presence of God and having a living relationship with God. This relationship is cultivated by prayer and the Sacraments. In addition to being called to holiness, everyone is called to one of life’s particular vocations, whether to marriage, to the priesthood, as a religious sister or brother, or as a committed single person.”

Fr Carl spoke of vocations particularly as a call to serve God and others as a priest. He asserted that Jesus invited men into ministerial service and continues to invite men into His service. “Our Diocese should be focused on doing the same,” he said.

“However, given that I am the first [Diocesan] priest ordained in 30 years, I often wonder if Jesus is calling on the shores of Guyana. Are we listening to God’s call? Could it be that the faithful are so pre-occupied with all the stuff of the world, that the priesthood is seen as lesser-than or unattractive? Could it be that clergy have become too busy with the day-to-day maintenance of parishes that they have no time to help nurture and advocating for vocations?” he questioned.

“…that can’t be the problem; perhaps, the solution is two-fold,” he said. Fr Carl then beseeched people, especially the young, to pay less attention to the distraction of worldly, material things and pay more attention to and answer Jesus’ call.

“At the same time, we the clergy must live joyfully, demonstrate how fulfilling it is to live a life dedicated to spreading the Gospel and to serving the least of our brothers and sisters,” Fr Carl said.

He continued that the biggest question is, “How do we make priesthood attractive”? and how to get young people to think about the priesthood?

Reflecting on the words of Pope Francis in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Christus vivit, written to young people and to the entire people of God, Fr Carl said the first thing is to get young people to be active. He recalled his own experiences in Young Apostles on the Move (YAM). Having been spiritually renewed, young people then need to be given room for discernment. Young people need to have their freedom respected, yet they also need to be accompanied, Fr Carl said.