.- As seminary enrollments continue to rise, the Los Angeles archdiocese has released a vocational video titled “Follow Me: Journeys to Priesthood,” telling the stories of many seminarians discerning a call to priesthood.
Fr. Steve Davoren, vocations director for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, said the vocations office hopes that the video will move more young men to “begin an internal dialogue with God to help them discern a possible vocation to the priesthood.”
“We want to portray ordinary men being called by God to live extraordinary lives,” he said Oct. 30.
The 13-minute video interviews seminarians and priests from different backgrounds about what inspired them to follow a vocation to the priesthood.
Danny Jacobs, a seminarian from St. Victor Church in West Hollywood, is an Emmy Award-winning actor whose success prompted more questions.
“How can I help people with this? What is this doing for me?” he said of his Emmy.
“What your authentic self wants is the same thing God wants for you,” Jacobs said in the video. “And he’s trying to tell you that. But he’s a gentleman, and he speaks in a whisper. And he waits until you listen.”
There are now 92 seminarians at the archdiocesan St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, Calif., the highest number in many years. Twenty-five of the seminarians are new students, some of whom are studying for other dioceses.
There are 20 new seminarians discerning the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles at St. John’s, and at the Juan Diego House of Formation in Gardena.
The increase in seminarian numbers is part of a national trend. There are about 3,700 seminarians in Catholic seminaries across the U.S., a 13 percent increase in the past decade.
Seminarians at St. John’s range in age from 22 to 45. Some have a foreign background, coming from Mexico, the Philippines, Vietnam, Guatemala and Uganda.
The video dedicates some time to immigrant seminarians and priests, and also introduces viewers to seminary formation.
John O’Brien, a seminarian and surfer from Santa Monica’s St. Monica Parish, spoke of the “special bond” between priests and the seminarians, who are preparing “to serve the people.” He recounts in the video the fellowship among priests and seminarians who are surfers.
“It’s really great to spend some time with my brother seminarians who surf, and priests who surf,” he said.
The video will be shown at Catholic high schools, youth rallies, religious conferences and local parishes to encourage men to discern a priestly vocation and to educate all Catholics about vocations.
The video can be seen at the archdiocese’s vocations office website www.lavocations.org.