.- Bishop Jose Guadalupe Martin Rabago of Leon, Mexico, revealed this week that the shortage of vocations to the priesthood means each priest on average must minister to between 13,000 and 14,000 people.
The bishop also revealed that some priests minister to as many as 40,000 Catholics and that “it is urgent that we create an awareness of the priestly vocation.” “The fact that the number of aspirants to the priesthood is not sufficient means that large sectors of the population are deprived of the pastoral care they need,” he explained.
“We are overwhelmed with work and with the difficulty of being able to personally follow up with different sectors of society, especially with the young people, who need it so much,” the bishop said.
He also explained that the priest “not only transforms spiritual life, but also the community, and he even has a humanist function.”
“In many communities, especially on the periphery, the only bond that brings people together is the parish; the pastor is the leader of the community.” “Parishes are the centers of unity, humanization and spiritual transformation,” he added.
“We want there to be a great sensitivity in the community environment in order to discover the importance of vocations to the priestly life,” said Bishop Martin Rabago, emphasizing that young people be encouraged to say yes to a call to the priesthood from the Lord.
The bishops argued that, “vocations blossom in the family, but with the breakdown of families, vocations do not attract attention.”
Moreover, he said, “the climate of relativism and hedonism leads people to refrain from definitive commitments.”
The Diocese of Leon has some 100 seminarians in major Seminary and another 150 in minor Seminary.