Thursday, January 31, 2008

Priest Recruitments Are Up In The Tri-state

A few years ago, there was a lot of talk about whether or not there would be enough priests to serve all of the Catholic parishes in Greater Cincinnati and across the country.

However, the head of the Cincinnati Archdiocese's Vocations office said recruitment for Seminarians is up.

Recruiting Catholic priests is a top priority for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

In fact, the Archdiocese formed a special vocations committee in 2005. Those efforts are paying off.

Shawn Landenwitch is one of 29 men at Mount Saint Mary's Seminary on Beechmont Avenue who are studying to become priests.

"I had just graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in finance. I had applied and was accepted to Notre Dame Law School and I was planning on becoming a lawyer," Landenwitch explained.

"That summer I started having thoughts about the priesthood," Landenwitch said.

The fourth year Seminarian said he tried to ignore the call.

"I think a lot of people thought I was crazy. It was a lot to give up, financial success, that's how a lot of people determine success in today's world, but it really came down to a decision of faith," said Landenwitch.

Reverend Kyle Schnippel hears similar stories as the head recruiter for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati's Vocations Office.

"We've had a number of guys that have come through the RCIA process, who have converted and become Catholic from other faith traditions," said Schnippel.

Father Schnippel said the church sex scandal from a few years ago is not hurting recruitment efforts.

"Most of the guys coming in say we know that the priesthood is better than that. And they want to live to that ideal," said Schnippel.

Schnippel reaches out to students at Catholic schools including Elder High School.

Schnippel tells them about the various careers one can choose within the church.

"His sermons and times I've heard him talk have made me think about whether I want to join the priesthood or what I want to do for the rest of my life," said Elder senior, Kyle Smith.

Chad Ratterman, also a senior at Elder, said the talks have been helpful as he plans his future.

"Just being able to hear him talk about vocations has really led me to start to think about what I want to do with my life and what my vocation will probably be," said Ratterman.

Covington Bishop Roger Foys talks about recruitment efforts in a January issue of "The Messenger" newspaper.

Foys said the Covington Diocese has also seen a significant increase in priest recruits.

Vocation recruitment doesn't only involve the priesthood, the church is also looking for sisters, brothers, deacons and counselors.


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