The Sept. 6 conviction of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., may have been the biggest story to come out of the diocese recently. However, another, far more positive story is emerging.
The diocese — along with its neighbor, the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kan. — is seeing an uptick in the number of young men who are entering seminary. In Kansas City-St. Joseph, 10 men entered seminary this fall. Across the border, 32 men are studying for the priesthood.
“Here we are in a period of unprecedented upheaval in the diocese. Yet more young men are coming to the diocese to enter seminary than in two generations. And I don’t know why,” Msgr. Bradley Offutt, Kansas City-St. Joseph vicar general, told the Kansas City Star in a Sept. 10 story.
That’s not to say either diocese is out of the woods when it comes to having enough priests. As the story pointed out, the average age of priests in the dioceses is just slightly lower than the national average of 63. And whether the trend will continue is anyone’s guess, but Kansas City’s vicar general for clergy gave his theory on what’s attracting men to the priesthood.
“I’d like to think the reason is that young people are looking for meaning in their lives,” Father Brian Schieber said. “Most Catholics judge the priesthood on their local priest. Young people want to be part of the renewal of the Church.”