.- In a letter to mark “Seminary Day” in Spain on March 19th, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, Archbishop of Madrid, noted that despite growing secularism in the dominant culture, vocations to the priesthood continue to rise.
Pointing out that more than 200 seminarians are currently studying for the Madrid archdiocese, the cardinal emphasized that “the number and generosity of our seminarians proves that the Lord continues to call men to the apostolic priesthood, despite the progressive secularism of the dominant culture and the secularist attempts to rid our people of their Christian roots and values.”
“Our prayer to the Master of the harvest to continue sending workers to his harvest is not in vain, nor sterile is our cooperation with the grace of God to bring to fruition the vocational seeds that are sown with ecclesial rigor and evangelical care in the Christian life,” the cardinal added.
He criticized youth ministry programs that don’t lead young people to “a personal, living and cordial encounter with Jesus Christ, so that they can open themselves to his will and respond generously to the Christian vocation.”
Cardinal Rouco said that “Seminary Day” is an opportunity to pray for seminarians and to express spiritual and economic support for their commitment to Christ and mankind. It’s also a chance to make the faithful, especially families, aware of the greatness of the priestly vocation and the urgent need to promote it among children and young people.
He called the increase in priestly vocations an “eloquent sign of the fecundity of Christian life in communities and Christian groups and of the real appreciation of their members for this ministry.” He questioned whether the shortage of vocations in other parts of Europe might not be due to the abandonment of the Christian roots of the continent and to the lack of apostolic vigor.