Well, today you can easily find an app when searching for someone whom you can talk with, or maybe a robotic head or a lifelike doll if you need companionship and someone to listen to you!

But seriously speaking, the past decades have indeed revealed a very deep crisis of vocations to the priesthood and other forms of religious and consecrated life, especially in Europe and the Western continents. The question is: is this really the problem?

In fact, many countries in Africa or Latin America are showing that with the ratio of fewer priests in relation to their population densities, Churches are growing exponentially. What
is the reason behind this? One could be that we have a renewed, reawakened, and empowered laity who have become responsible protagonists in the Church today and not just of laity in the sacristy or collaborators who build around their shepherd an insurmountable hedge.

Sometimes even some people even create a wall for those who are far away from the church, but above all, they thus distance themselves from Christ’s embrace.

In the last Synod on the family, it was noted that many times we have acted defensively and wasted pastoral energies by multiplying attacks on a decadent world, with our little ability to indicate proactive roads to happiness (Amoris Laetitia 38).

So the laity can indeed “enchant” this world by boldly offering a radical witness in following Christ. The Church which is “going out” to others is a missionary community of disciples which takes initiative, and gets involved, one that accompanies, bears fruit and celebrates.” (Evangelii Gaudium n. 24).

This is why families in the local community are those “little outgoing domestic churches” that can spread the fragrance of the Gospel.

It is from them, I think, that a new fertile season of vocations will come, including vocations to the consecrated life and priesthood.

Fr. Paolo Gentili and Fr. Am Mijares
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