What makes Pope Benedict smile?

Seminarians!  Lots of ‘em!  Read on:

Bishop James D. Conley of Denver said the news of rising seminarian numbers across the United States has delighted Pope Benedict XVI.

“He was very happy to receive that information,” Bishop Conley told CNA on May 4 after meeting the Pope at the Vatican.

“He said he had heard that vocations were going up in the United States and he said this is very positive news and, in fact, he had a big smile on his face when he heard the news.”

Bishop Conley was one of ten bishops from Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming who had an audience with Pope Benedict as part of their five-day “ad limina” pilgrimage to Rome which concludes tomorrow.

He explained to the Pope that there is now a year-on-year increase in the numbers of young men opting for the priesthood across many US dioceses.

“I told him that in the Archdiocese of Denver both of our seminaries, St John Vianney Theological Seminary and Redeptoris Mater Neo-catechumenal seminary, are full,” the bishop added.

“In fact we have more applicants than we have space so for the first time in many years we have to create a waiting list which is a good problem to have.”

The most recent statistics show a similar story across the United States. Last year the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University estimated that the 2011 seminary intake was up 4 percent on the previous year and had reached its highest figure in 20 years. Meanwhile, Rome’s North American College is full to its 250 capacity for the first time in decades.

Read the rest.

  • Catherine

    That is good news! I’m smiling, too.

  • ron chandonia

    I can’t help but think that this relatively slight increase in the numbers of seminarians will serve to put off fundamental reforms that would be much healthier for the Church in the long run, particularly a serious reconsideration of clerical celibacy.

  • http://jscafenette.com Manny

    That is fantastic news. We are doing something right on this side of the Atlantic.

  • RomCath

    Wondering why the eliminination of celibacy would improve things. Are the Protestant seminaries full?

  • cathyf

    How much of the effect is a result of being too a little too aggressive in closing seminaries in the last few decades?

  • http://tomperna.org Tom Perna

    This is exciting news! I know the Diocese of Austin and the Diocese of Phoenix have many seminarians.


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