January 11, 2001
volume 12, no. 11
Dioceses Turn to Internet to Recruit Vocations

Fears of Serious Shortages Spur New Tactics

    DES MOINES, Iowa, JAN 10, 2001 ( The looming priest shortage in many U.S. dioceses has led diocesan vocation offices to turn to the Internet to attract seminarians. At least 25 diocese have vocational web sites active, according to ABC News.

    Fr. John Acrea, vocations director in the diocese of Des Moines, Iowa, says that the Church has found itself in competition with medical and law schools for getting the best students. In that diocese, 84 priests currently serve the sacramental needs of 100,000 people.

    While few U.S. dioceses can claim to have a true shortage of priests at this time, especially in comparison with many developing nations, it remains true that the number of seminarians is less than the number of retiring or dying priests in many dioceses.

    Fr. Acrea says that the more traditional means of finding vocations, visiting schools and churches to talk to young men, have become difficult in recent years due to the fact that society has become very mobile. When a family moves to a new town, they cut short relations with the clergy in the previous location.

    The diocese of Des Moines recently launched a new web site, , to address this problem. Here they provide general information about diocesan vocations, along with email links for the Des Moines diocese. Fr. Acrea says that to date, there have been 14,000 visitors, with at least 80 emails received from men interested in the priesthood.

    Dioceses that have started on the road of using the Internet for vocation recruitment have seen promising results, but the priest stress that ultimately the work must be done at a personal level. For this reason, Fr. Acrea says that the Internet represents only one tool in the diocese's vocational efforts. ZE01011022

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January 11, 2001
volume 12, no. 11
News on the Church in the USA

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