Chapter I: Introduction
“Vocation comes from our Heavenly Father” (Vatican II, 1967, p. 33). Vocation does not come at the young age, but at the origin of our lives when our soul was created, and each child was born with his own vocation (Vatican II, 1967). The vocation is a call from God (1 Samuel 3:2-10). It is not related to a career or a profession. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (2015), vocation is a way of life that aid others to listen and respond to God’s call in their lives. Currently, in the Catholic Church, there is a shortage of priests and religious men and women. The main reason of this study is to combat this problem. This chapter will discuss the ways in which vocations have been decreasing.
Statement of the Problem
According to the self-study (2017) of St. La Salle School (SLS), the mission statement of SLS is to provide a Christ-centered education in which children may grow in their relationship with and in respect for God, others, self, and the environment. SLS staff believes that the mother and father are the primary educators of their kids. For this reason, SLS staff acknowledges that parents and teachers have to be companions in the technique of teaching the kids. As members of the same religious community, teachers, and parents need to strive together to set up a good relationship with an open conversation. One of the goals of the SLS staff action plan is the need to provide parents with additional faith formation opportunities and to the teachers to provide opportunities for workshops and staff development. Together they try to create an atmosphere, which seeks to integrate the message of God and proclaimed by way of the Church, the fellowship in the life of the Holy Spirit, and the carrier to the whole Christian community to teach as Jesus did (SLS Self-Study, 2017). In this capacity, SLS also looks towards the formation of priests and religious. This is the focus because there has been an ongoing shortage of priests, and religious.
Purpose of the Study
The reason of this study is to obtain more vocations to the religious life and the priesthood through vocation awareness programs in the Catholic Schools and Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) programs. The practical outcome of this study will be the implementation of vocation awareness programs in the Catholic schools and in CCD programs. The theory that will be used to explore this study will be Servant Leadership. As indicated by Greenleaf (1970), a servant leadership makes utilization of less institutional quality of individuals who are being driven and values the group as it offers a plausibility for individuals to appreciate mutuality, respect, consideration, trust and self-awareness. This examination is very vital in the modern-day existence of the Catholic Church and in the Catholic schools. It was helpful that the USCCB applied the National Vocation Awareness Week in all the Catholic schools of the Unites States since 1976. The aim of this vocation awareness week is to engage Catholic faculties and schools more efficiently in this attempt.
Vocation awareness showed the need to pray for vocations. It was important because it helped those who were in discernment of their vocation. It helped the youngsters to reflect on basic questions such as, if God called them to the priesthood or religious life, or if they were called to enter into the seminary or convent. In the past, Catholic school teachers were brothers, priests, and nuns. Now, because of the shortage of priests and nuns, lay people are the teachers in the Catholic schools. Prayer had an important role to obtain more priestly and religious vocations to the church. It is important to “Pray, the Lord of the harvest” (Mt. 9:38). Jesus is the Lord of the harvest and He himself is asking for His followers to pray to obtain more vocations to the Church through this gospel message.
The goal of this research study was to promote priestly and religious vocations in the Catholic Schools and in the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) programs. To meet this objective, the prevailing study looked at some factors such as demographic factors, social factors, religious factors, and cognitive factors. Based on this, the research question to be addressed was how to promote priestly and religious vocations?
What is the research value to the company and the researcher?
The research value of this study is to help insure that the Catholic schools and the CCD programs may help to cultivate vocations to the priesthood and to the religious men and women. The researcher was a religious who followed Christ through the vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and prayer. The researcher will be happy to see more young men and women respond to God’s call and make their hearts free for prayer and service for the love of God.
How will this work contribute to the literature field?
The priests and the religious men and women of today have a duty to be witnesses to the presence of God in a world that is disoriented and confused. This research will help to implement vocation awareness in the Catholic schools and CCD programs and will benefit the universal Church in obtaining more vocations to priesthood and religious life. There were different studies done on this topic. One of the study was done in 2015, by National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) on the study of vocations and the role of the family. This research presented the findings from a major study of the influence of the families in discerning vocations. Through this research, the author wants to help families with more information’s to cultivate vocations to the priesthood and the religious life.
Assumption of the study
The assumption of the study was that the implementation of vocation awareness would lead the youth to answer to the call of God through the priesthood and religious life in the Diocese of Fresno, California.
Definition of Terms
Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD): According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994, n.5), is an education in the faith of the Catholic children. All the children who are not attending the Catholic school are requested to attend the CCD program. It is also called religious education program or Sunday school.
Discernment: It is the process that one come to know God’s will through the prayer and the reflection.
Nun/sister: Is a religious woman who is consecrated to God. She lives in a community practicing the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
Ordination: Is the process through which individuals were consecrated, that is, set apart as priest to perform various religious rites and ceremonies.
Priest: According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994), a priest is the person who represents the Christ, the head of the Church. A priest celebrates the sacraments, he is committed to pastor the people of God.
Seminary: Is the place where all the candidates to priesthood reside for their formation. The people who live in a seminary are called seminarians.
Vocation: According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994, n. 542), vocation is a call that people receive from God. Everyone is called to enter his kingdom (n.543).
The calling one has in this life. God has created us to love and serve Him, and He has a unique plan for each person’s life — a vocation. As God is the source of all lasting happiness, satisfaction and joy, then living according to God’s plan for us will be the best life we can lead. Courage, obedience and persistent prayer are needed for us to live our vocation, whether it is to single life, to marriage or in service to the Church as a priest or religious.
Vow: According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994, n.2102), a vow is a promise made to God as an action of devotion to Him. All the priests and the religious men and women follow the three vows: chastity, poverty, and obedience.
Limitations of the Study
As in any other research, there were limitations in this research. The first limitation was getting permission from the organization. Another limitation choosing the right leadership and methodology. Another limitation was the problem how to perform the survey, to whom to give the survey, how to give the survey, and when to give the survey. In addition, there was the doubt of the researcher as to those who responded were honest or not. Additional limitation were the participants in the survey were the only Catholics affiliated with SLS in the Diocese of Fresno California.
The method that used for this research was mixed methods. As stated by Creswell (2009), mixed methods incorporate elements of qualitative and quantitative approaches. The research will be in the education field, so it will use quantitative methods by creating a survey and using questionnaires. This type of research can reach many people and is quicker than qualitative. Qualitative methods are based on people’s attitude, behavior, and experiences. For this, there will be interviews with groups or people such as priests, seminarians, teachers, parents, and students.
This chapter discusses the problem as the need of implementing vocation awareness in the SLS and in the CCD program was considered. Also, the purpose of the study, which was to obtain more vocations to the priesthood and the religious life was examined. Then, the research questions and the involvement of demographic, social, religious, and cognitive factors in responding to God’s call was discussed. Finally, how this research will contribute to the literature on vocation awareness was explained.
Chapter II: Literature Review
This research was done to implement vocation awareness in St La Salle Catholic School. This vocation awareness would help to obtain more priestly and religious vocations to the Catholic Church. A relevant literature review in this chapter would intensify the understanding of priesthood, religious priests, and nuns, deacons and seminarians. The chapter consists of the following sections: socio-demographic factors, values and religious orientation, and cognitive factors.
The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) highlighted various ways that vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life could be promoted by featuring resources that were currently being used by archdioceses and dioceses throughout the United States or were available through various organizations (USCCB). In his address to seminarians and novices Pope Francis said in 2013 becoming a priest or a man or woman religious was not primarily our own decision. Rather it was the response to a call and to a call of love.
Not very many quantities of studies examined diligence in the priesthood and religious life Hoge (2002); Zondag, (2001). Moreover, despite the fact that priestly and religious vocation is spiritual and religious in nature, only a few studies have been done to investigate the spiritual or religious aspects of the priesthood Mahalik ;Lagan (2001) Zondag, (2001). During the late 1960s and mid 1970s there were more broad endeavors to study about the personality characteristics of the priests, religious, and seminarians such as Bier (1970), Herr (1970), Dunn (1965), and Weisgerber (1969) announced huge numbers of these investigations were distributed in master’s thesis as well as in doctoral dissertations.
A few national studies done by Hemrick & Hoge, (1991); Hemrick & Walsh (1993); Hoge (2002); Hoge & Wenger (2003) have recognized statistic attributes of the priests, religious, and seminarians, which included ethnic foundations, family size, and age. A different way to look at the priests and the religious was that they were divided into two groups: American born and international. As stated by Froehle & Gautier (2000) the international priests mean that they were foreign born and studies showed that there were 16% of international priests worked in the Unites States around that time.
Interestingly, there have been several studies done on the national origin of diocesan priests. In 1990, Hemrick and Hoge found that 37% of the priests were from western heritage while 34% of the priests were from Irish, English, Scottish, or Welsh heritage. But the survey done by Hoge in 2002, resulted in the opposite findings. The survey of 1990 found 29% of priests were from western heritage while the survey in 2002 found 35% of priests were from Irish, English, Scottish, or Welsh heritage. The priests who were from Eastern European descendant diminished from 12% in the year 1990 to 7% in the year 2002, which demonstrated that there was an expansion in the level of Hispanic and Asian ministers since they expanded from 4% in the years 1990s to 9% in the years 2000s (Hoge and Okure, 2006). The priests from Asia increased by nine percentage in the 2000s (Hoge, 2002). Surveys done on priests, religious, and seminarians brought about a comparable example, that predicted the growth of the quantity of these groups in the future (Hemrick and Walsh,1993). As per the report done by Hoge and Okure (2006), the international priests and seminarians were around ten years more youthful than American priests and seminarians. It was prominent that Schoenherr, Young, and Vilarino (1988) found through investigations that demographic changes have authoritative outcomes. In any case, studies demonstrated that issues faced by non-American priests were not quite the same as those of American born priests with the exception of loneliness which was very strong among foreign born priests (Hoge and Okure, 2006).
Another important fact was that family size contributed to the priestly and religious vocations (Hemrick & Walsh, 1993). More vocations were coming from the families where there were more children and most of them were Catholic families (Hoge, Potvin, & Ferry, 1984). Researchers also showed that most of them were middle class families and educated than the normal Catholic families of the US (Hemrick & Walsh,1993). Even though, according to Potvin (1985), a difference in the family sizes existed and showed that vocations came from all sizes of families, the result was those families who had more children were ready to offer one of their children to serve God. On the other side, those families who had just single or two children were not all that ready to do as such (Hoge, Potvin, & Ferry, 1984). The surveys done showed that the average age of priests and religious who responded to the call of God increased in the past years (Hemrick & Walsh, 1993; Hoge & Wenger, 2003). In the 1960s, the average age was 25, in the 1980s, it became 30, in the 1990s, it became 32, and in the 2000s it became 35 (Hoge, 2002).
Hemrick and Walsh (1993) reported that fifty percentage of seminarians, priests and religious in the 1990s, forty-four percentage in 1984, and eighty percentage in 1966 attended Catholic schools. As per Putvin and Muncada (1990), the religious experience done amid secondary school years produced a solid inspiration to the priesthood and religious life. Most of those who responded to the call of God were occupied with different religious activities, for example, being Eucharistic ministers, lectors, altar servers, catechism teachers, and have been an intensive participant in campus ministry (Schweickert, 1987). Moreover, all the researches done showed that religious experiences or attending a Catholic school was an important factor for the perseverance in vocations to the priesthood or the religious life (Potvin & Muncada, 1990). Many priests and religious were inspired by their personal spiritual experience even before they entered into the seminary or religious life (Hoge 2002).
According to the research done by Schweicker (1987), most of the religious candidates who joined the priesthood or religious life were motivated and encouraged by the vocation director, a priest or a religious. Candidates who experienced discouragement and dated someone during the formation time tended to leave their vocation and those who felt satisfied with the community life were tending to persevere in their vocation (Potvin & Muncada, 1990). Hoge and Wenger (2003) reported in their survey done on more than one thousand active priests, the two notable reasons for the satisfaction of their priesthood are: chance to work with numerous individuals and to be a part of their lives, and to be the part of the Christian community. Absence of social help increased the probability to leave the priesthood (Hoge, 2002).
As the aftereffect of the Vatican Council II in 1960, many of the priests and religious left due to the changes done in the Church and a significant number of them felt confused and lost (Hoge & Wenger, 2003). From the research done by Schoenher & Young (1990) on some resigned and active priests, it was noted the dioceses lost thirty percentage of the priests after the Vatican Council II. Social changes in the 1970s showed an expanded level of behavioral changes in the society and in the priests of the Catholic Church in the United States” (Rathus, Nevid, & Ficher Rathus, 2002).
Value and Religious Orientation
Values and religious orientation are very important elements in responding to the call of God through priestly and religious life. Value and religious orientation are considered as the second domain of personality. Values could take different forms of motivations, goals, and preferences (Roberts & Wood, 2006). According to Richards and Birgin (1997), value had a various level of structure which indicated that the more important the goal is, greater is its value within the person’s motivation. As per Bolman and Deal (2013), values portray what an association stand for, recognize characteristics deserving of regard or responsibility, pass on a feeling of personality and help individuals to feel exceptional about what they do.
Rokeach (1968) explained two distinct sorts of values: terminal and instrumental. Terminal esteem is a conviction which guides a person to make progress toward the idealized condition of existence, while an instrumental esteem is the perfect method of lead that guides the person to achieve the terminal value. Considering about this, the priesthood and religious vocations were a free will to live in the unity of God through the promises of poverty, chastity, and obedience (Castello, 2002). The desire to live in unity with God, imitating Jesus, reflected the terminal value of the priesthood and religious life and the three vows reflected the instrumental value. The three vows were instrumental in the light of their capacity as a method for communicating with God imitating Jesus (Castello, 2002; Rulla, Ridick, ; Imoda, 1976).
According to the study done by Castello (2002), those who received the vocation to the priesthood and religious life were motivated by what they would like to be, rather than what they believed themselves to be. Mainly, studies showed three important reasons to join the priesthood and religious life: The main motivation depended on the benevolent incentive in that they demonstrated a powerful urge to help other people (Potvin and Suziedelis, 1969) or to dedicate themselves for others (Greeley, 2004). Altruism was the basic element of those who received vocations to the priesthood and religious life (Greeley, 2004). The second motivation was based on individual value which showed by a longing to give more significance to life or to achieve immortality (Hicks, 1983; Tuohy, 1980). The last motivation depended on the spiritual value, which meant that the priests and the religious by serving the people of God they served God (Castello, 2002). According to the report given by Rulla, Riddick, and Imoda (1976), ninety-five percentage of those who were in formation, who had a strong religious value they left four years later they entered to be a priest or religious, and eighty-one percentage of them left after six to eight years.
Baston ; Ventis (1982) stated that religious formation was frequently seen as a manner by which individuals experienced their religious convictions and values. Individuals who had similar qualities and convictions had diverse methods for living them out. In this manner, religious formation could be best considered as religious disposition as opposed to religious substance (Zondag, 2001). According to Allport and Ross (1967) there were two kinds of religious orientation: the extrinsic and the intrinsic. Extrinsic means the individual utilized his religion and intrinsic means the individual persuaded lives with his religion. Extrinsic religious orientation alluded to a utilitarian inspiration that originated from external values and beliefs (Burris, 1999). Individuals who had extrinsic religious orientation utilized religious convictions to achieve goals such as security, status, sociability, etc. therefore, they proposed that extrinsic religious orientation was a less developed religious orientation than intrinsic religious orientation (Allport ; Ross, 1967).
However, Gorusuch (1990) found individuals who had an intrinsic religious formation liked to be recognized by their beliefs and values and they lived their religious faith for the sake of faith. The people with intrinsic religious orientation centered their lives on their religious beliefs (Zondag, 2001). They were more dedicated to their convictions in a benevolent manner (McFarland and Warren, 1992). Studies confirmed that individuals with intrinsic orientation were enticed to have a stronger religious responsibility, great adaptation, and solid compassion for others (Watson, Hood, Morries and Hall,1984). According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (2012), impact of the Catholic education on priestly and religious vocation was strong. Historically, the priests or religious who was taught in the Catholic Schools were prepared with special formation (Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, 1982). According to Pope Pius XI (1929), the goal of education was not only acquiring the knowledge but also but also the personal formation of the students.
VandenBos (2006) stated that cognitive factors could take all types of knowledge and awareness such as learning, judging, and critical thinking. Bagozzi (1978) and Campbell (1976) elaborated that perceptions were frequently portrayed as the substance of thoughts or convictions of the certainties being referred to, as a rule contrasted with a standard or desire. The resignation of priests has become a new problem in the Catholic Church since the late 1960s. The resignation of the diocesan priests of the United States raised from .1% in the year 1940s and 1950s to about .5% in 1965 and 2% in 1969 (NORC, 1972; Schoenherr ; Greeley, 1974). Some studies showed different reasons for leaving the vocation to priesthood or religious life such as falling in love/desire to marry, objections to celibacy, problems with superiors in the religious communities and the church administration, or a struggle with personal and psychological problems (Carrol, 1985; Castello, 2002; Kane, 2006; Maruca, 1993; Potvin ; Muncada, 1990).
The main reason showed for abandoning the vocations to the priesthood and religious life given by who had left the priesthood was falling in love and the desire to marry (Greeley, 2004; Hoge, 2002). According to the studies done by Verdiek, Shields, and Hoge (1988), where they compared two groups of priests: one of 1970 and another one of 1985, the desire to marry in 1970 was higher than that in 1985. Also, studies done by Hoge ; Okure (2006) stated the same, which showed the basic part of desiring to marry in abandoning the priesthood.
Falling in love/desire to marry were a rejection of celibacy, which was one of the vows of priesthood or religious life (Felperin, 1995; Hoge, 2002; Potvin ; Muncada, 1990). Putvin ; Muncada (1990) noted that celibacy was one of the reasons for the abandonment of the vocations by priests, religious, and seminarians. In the same way, Hoge (2002) also reported that celibacy was a second reason to abandon the vocation. In the words of Hoge (2002), even though the longing to marry and the issue with chastity were basic reasons to abandon the vocations, loneliness was responsible for making the decision of resignation.
A third reason to abandon the priesthood or religious life was the rejection of authority figures in their religious communities and dissatisfaction with Church administration (Greeley, 2004; Hoge, 2002). Kane (2008) investigated the attitude of priests towards bishops or religious toward their superiors. The result showed that they had lost respect for bishops or superiors. In the same way, the foreign-born priests were not satisfied of the way the leaders were practiced in the Church (Hoge ; Okure, 2006). The disappointment with the leaders of the Church was listed as the third most regular clarification for the abandonment of the vocations after the desire to marry and the problem of celibacy (Hoge, 2002).
Lastly, personal struggle or psychological problems were another reason to abandon the vocation to priesthood or the religious life (Hoge (2002). This included some candidates who were asked to leave and after a while of experience, some were not feeling it was the right vocation for them (Potvin ; Muncada, 1990). Reasons for being asked to leave could be: suffering from sickness, liquor abuse or drinking issue, and homosexuality (Felperin, 1995; Hoge, 2002). According to Rosetti (2011) the priests who had thoughts to abandon their vocation were younger priests who held more responsibilities and were burnt out.
In his studies, Hoge (2002) interviewed the active priests and those who had abandoned their priesthood or religious life and he reported four common recommendations: 1. The need to discuss openly about sexuality, chastity, and homosexuality; 2. During formation time to give a real-life experience to the candidates and healthy interaction with the people; 3. The need to support the young priests or religious on the part of the authorities; 4. To organize programs where all can share their experiences. The candidates to priesthood or religious life needed to reconcile with their past and solve their problems which was fundamental for the dedication to the priesthood (Schuth, 2002 ; Sofield, 2002).
Servant Leadership was an idea which existed long time ago and it had re-developed in the current world, in this idea the leaders were liable to their supporters (Davies, 2007). Servant Leadership as an idea initially was originated in 1970 by Bob Greenleaf, who was one of the first defenders of the present new worldview thinking in administration and authority (Spears, 1996).
Servant Leadership was a logic that individuals serve to start with, and afterward as a method for extending service to the people and organizations (Toduk Aki?, 2003). As expressed by the philosophical approach servant leadership was a transformational, equitable type of administration that expected time to execute and to give bounteous chances to include all individuals from the learning group (Crippen, 2005). Servant Leaders must have ten qualities to perform successfully and they are: listening, sympathy, mending, mindfulness, influence, conceptualization, prescience, stewardship, sense of duty regarding the development of individuals, and building group (Greenleaf, 2003). Servant leaders will probably be supervisors who don’t endeavor to be pioneers, and they present with an emphasis on the follower, who are the essential concern, and this makes authoritative concerns fringe (Andersen, 2009). Servant leaders put their adherents’ advantages ?rst, give them bolster, encourage their devotees’ execution, and they exhibit humility by not assuming sole acknowledgment when an assignment has been effectively proficient (Van Dierendonck, 2011). According to Sendjaya and Sarros (2002) servant leaders create and engage others to achieve their most noteworthy potential. Essentially, servant leaders have confidence in the characteristic esteem controlled by every supporter, perceiving and recognizing every individual’s capacities and what the individual can realize (Greenleaf, 1998). Servant leaders likewise showed genuineness by being consistent with oneself, both out in the open and in private (Russell and Stone, 2002).
In conclusion, studies showed four main aspects of social factors of the priesthood and religious life. The main viewpoint was statistic attributes which included ethnicity, family size, and age. The second aspect was the religious experience inside the family, schools, and the Church. Despite the fact that parents assumed an awesome part in creating and to advancing the religious interest and vocation to the priesthood, there had been prove which demonstrated that religious encounters from the school and from the church had an imperative part for the perseverance in the priesthood. The third perspective was the significance of social backings and support, and the fourth viewpoint was the general atmosphere inside the Church and the general public. In this chapter, four other main considerations which were demonstrated to be important to priestly responsibility were talked about. These elements were social, mental, religious mode, and intellectual mode. These components mirrored the multidimensional idea of the priesthood and its responsibility. This study will investigate the different parts of the priesthood and the religious life, exploring to what degree each factor added to the priesthood. For this, a theoretical study is expected to deliberately incorporate and to comprehend the social examples of different factors associated with the commitment of the priesthood and the religious life.