Imagine our Diocese with enough priests to serve every parish. We would have more opportunities to attend Mass, receive the Holy Eucharist and Sacraments. We could reach out to more souls and share the Good News. Through the one by One campaign we are hoping to make this a reality.
“Vocations to priesthood is the number one priority in our Diocese and will be for many years to come,” shared Bishop David L. Ricken.
By 2025 Bishop Ricken has set a goal to call forth and form 30 seminarians to be missionary leaders in the priesthood. Fr. Mark Mleziva, Vocation Director for the Diocese of Green Bay and Fr. Adam Bradley, Associate Vocation Director, are an integral part of reaching this goal. They have created a vocation planning group that meets bi-monthly to discuss awareness and outreach. “It is everyone’s responsibility to grow vocations to the priesthood,” shared Fr. Mark. “We need to plant the seeds. Help families to understand the importance of a vocation
With more than 200 worship sites in our Diocese, almost 25% are served by international priests that come to us on loan from dioceses around the world. While we are blessed to have these priests serving in our parishes we need to plan for the future of our Church. “We need the Lord present in our communities. Souls need to be ministered to, nourished and strengthened by our Lord. We need men from our Diocese to consider becoming a priest,” shared Fr. Mark. “In order to make this happen we need to do things differently. We need to reach out in innovative and compelling ways.”
As Fr. Adam spends time talking with students and parents in parishes, schools and colleges, he shared, “Parents have to give their sons permission to be open to priesthood. Freedom to follow God’s plan as He calls them to greatness. To let them do what God desires in their lives – to pursue priesthood.”
College is one of the most formative experiences in the lives of many young people. During these years, young adults explore new ideas, career options and make life-defining decisions about their values and their life’s journey. These formative years shape the future of young leaders and are opportunities for campus ministries to play a pivotal role in the discernment of young adults to a life of ordained service to the church.
For Fr. Adam, he realized his call to the priesthood while attending UW Oshkosh and spending time in prayer at the Newman Center. He was discipled by the Campus Chaplain and this helped open his heart to the amazing plans God has for his life.
“When a young man begins to discern a vocation, we walk with and support him on this journey. Through one to one conversations we get to know what is in his heart and if the Lord is calling him to priesthood. This can happen quickly for some but for others it can take several years,” shared Fr. Mark. “The men we walk with know they want to give their life to something, to lay down their life for something. God is calling them.”
The journey to priesthood is not easy. A young man enters the seminary after completing their undergraduate degree in philosophy. While in the seminary they serve in our parishes, study, pray and are being formed as holy men. Seminary costs about $38,000 per year for each seminarian. While the annual Seminarian Collection raises about $1 million each year it is not enough to cover the expenses for 30 seminarians. These men need our prayers and gifts.
“To reach our goal of 30 seminarians we have a lot more work to do. We have to strengthen our ability to attract, train and care for men discerning a vocation. Through the one by One campaign we are hoping to support this goal,” shared Fr. Mark. “This campaign will provide our Diocese with additional funding and greater opportunities to be present in the places where those who are considering a vocation live, study and pray.”
We are molded into a community of faith by those men who are called to ordained service to the Church. We need our Catholic mission now more than ever. Through your support of the one by One campaign, you ensure the ongoing financial support of those in priestly formation and the future of our Church. To learn how you can help today please visit the one by One campaign website at one.catholicfoundationgb.org.