Thinking of the Priesthood? Internet Has Sites for You

Vocation Recruitment Is Coming of Age on the Web

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DUBLIN, Ireland, MARCH 19, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The Archdiocese of Armagh is turning to the Internet to look for a key ingredient of the Church´s future: vocations.



The primatial see of Ireland already maintains a site (www.armagharchdiocese.org) for day-to-day information. Now, it is giving visitors access to a supplementary site, Pilgrim Path, aimed at young men thinking of the priesthood.

Archbishop Sean Brady officially launched the site March 7 at a reception and media briefing at the Armagh Diocesan Pastoral Center.

The Pilgrim Path site addresses frequently-asked questions about the priesthood, formation, and the daily life and work of the clergy. The site also includes full video and audio downloads.

In his introduction to Pilgrim Path, Archbishop Sean Brady notes the Pope´s message for World Communications Day 2002.

In particular, the Pontiff urges Catholics at every level to make use of Internet for evangelization and vocations promotion, describing the electronic medium as "a new forum for proclaiming the Gospel."

The use of Internet for vocations isn´t new. A simple Web search can produce a long list of sites, run by dioceses as well as religious congregations.

Some groups take a more-active approach too. Toward the end of the Jubilee year 2000, for instance, the Legion of Christ launched Shorelines, a free weekly e-mail service designed to help young people discern their vocation. Now, the congregation is launching a Web site with a telltale name, www.vocation.com.

Vocation.com features an archive of answers to vocation questions, fielded by Legionary Father Anthony Bannon. He has also answered hundreds of queries via e-mail for the Web site www.ewtn.com.

Father Bannon said he sees the efforts as part of a wider service to the whole Church.

"Of all the young men we helped over the years, more have been ordained for dioceses and other religious orders than for the Legion of Christ," he observed. "And that is very satisfying -- part of our mission is to be a ´vocation catalyst.´"

The new Internet ventures arrive just as the Pontifical Council for Social Communications published two relevant documents on the medium. "Ethics in Internet" and "The Church and Internet" offer pastoral and moral perspectives on using the Web.

The latter document, in No. 11, states: "Church leaders are obliged to use ´the full potential of the "computer age" to serve the human and transcendent vocation of every person, and thus to give glory to the Father from whom all good things come.´"

John Paul II underlined a similar point in an address March 1 to participants of the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

Insisting that the Church´s voice must not be silence by the media, the Pope said, "It is not enough to wait for things to happen, or to act in a random way. Now is the time for concrete and effective planning."