A vocations bonanza, from Huffington Post:
When Luke Strand started college nine years ago, he wanted to earn a marketing degree, a job in the business world, then a house and children.
Now he’s a priest and that’s not all. His brother, Vincent, is on his way to being ordained a Jesuit priest and their youngest brother, Jake, was ordained in the spring.
The family calling is remarkable at a time when fewer men, especially in the U.S., are choosing the Roman Catholic clergy. More than 3,200 of the 17,800 U.S. parishes don’t have resident priests, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. As of last year, the total number of priests in the U.S. had decreased 14 percent from 2000.So why did three men from one family sacrifice what they thought they wanted in their lives to become priests? Even their family was blindsided. The brothers’ parents, who live in Dousman, Wis., never encouraged it or discouraged it – they just never discussed it.
“It takes you off guard, (having) one after the other come and talk to us,” said their mother, Bernadette Strand.
The boys went to Catholic grade school, attended church every Sunday and prayed before dinner but weren’t “eccentric,” according to their father, Jerry. Their aunt is a member of the Poor Clare Sisters in Kokomo, Ind. His mother, Ruth, said she and her husband hoped one of their grandsons would join the priesthood.
“Grandma would always say, `Maybe one of you boys is going to be a priest’ and I think we’d just laugh: `Whatever, grandma.’ I mean we’re not going to study to be a priest,” Luke Strand said.