The Catholic Church in Ireland is suffering through a terrible shortage of priests — gee, I can’t imagine why — and they’ve decided that the solution is to build an iPhone app to aid them in recruiting new ones.
“The app is an original approach to assist current and future generations seeking to investigate and find information on vocations to the diocesan priesthood in Ireland,” a statement issued ahead of the launch said.
The number of new recruits to the priesthood has fallen sharply in the recent decades – and as Ireland has become engulfed in a series of child sex abuse scandals over the past few years…
The new ‘Vocations’ app was designed by Father Paddy Rushe and developed by the company Magic Time Apps, based in Dublin. It is available to download for free from the Apple iPhone App Store, said the church.
Some of the features of the app, according to the church, are: Connection to Twitter and Facebook; Social networking at the service of vocations; Contact details and statistics on the 26 dioceses of Ireland; Frequently asked questions to assist a person to discern his vocation; News feed running from the national vocations website; Novel and cursory ‘tests’ to enable the user to reflect on vocation potential.“Future updates will include a “prayer counter” to allow people pledge a period of prayer for vocations and a picture gallery which will include some images from the life of a seminarian,” the church statement said…
The app is part of a campaign promoted on the church website – http://www.vocations.ie – and follows ‘Priesthood Sunday,’ which was on September 25. The website called it “an opportunity to highlight and promote particularly the vocation to the priesthood.”
When I was doing comedy in the early 90s, the American church had a similar shortage of priests and had a billboard campaign to recruit new priests. That led me to write a joke about it, which went like this:
I don’t think this is gonna work. Poverty and celibacy are not the kind of things you can talk someone into volunteering for; they’re more like unfortunate side effects of being an only child in Arkansas.
I did that joke once and a guy in the audience stood up and started screaming at me. He was obviously drunk, I presume on sacramental wine. And at one point he yelled out “You need Jesus!” I replied, “I need Jesus like I need a hole in my hand,” prompting him to run toward the stage to beat me up. The bouncers wrestled him to the ground and threw him out.