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Boom: Australia sees surge in vocations

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 05/04/15


From Sydney: 

Morning prayer at Corpus Christi College, where 59 men are currently studying to become Catholic priests. That’s more than double the 1999 enrollment figure of 28 students. This year there are 17 first year students among them: the highest it’s been in decades. Father Brendan Lane is the priest in charge. “We’ve got another eight rooms that we’re going to build this year because we think we’re going to grow more and we don’t want to have to say no to people. Well, we do say no all the time because there would be one applicant a week. The internet has been an enormous tool in recruiting that seminarians and students for the priesthood from all over the world are applying here, they want to come here continually.” Father Lane says enrolments have been growing steadily because of World Youth Day, a Catholic church event for young people started by Pope John Paul the Second. He says the 2008 visit to Sydney by Pope Benedict has led to a steady rise in people entering the seminary. “To see millions of young people, want to be part of the church because often in the parish there’s very small numbers of young people, they see that great crowd and it gives them hope.” Attending World Youth Day as a young teenager had an impact on first year seminarian, 19 year old Olek Stirrat. “We had a Papal Mass with him and various activities but at that stage I was only 13 and probably didn’t appreciate it fully but for me it was an amazing experience just to see the pope and participate in a papal mass.” He says what proved to be pivotal in deciding to end his chemical engineering and biotechology studies was a trip he made to Rome last year. “For the Canonisation of John Paul the Second and John the 23rd and that experience there really inspired me and helped me recognise my desire to become a priest.”

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