This section concludes PO’s chapter 2, the Ministry of Priests, and deals in brief with recruiting. PO 11 refers to the “duty” being part of the “priestly mission” begun with the apostles. But this is again a shared responsibility, to be undertaken with the laity:
Since, however, there is common cause between the captain of a ship and the sailors, let all Christian people be taught that it is their duty to cooperate in one way or another, by constant prayer and other means at their disposal, that the Church will always have a sufficient number of priests to carry out her divine mission.
Look for the signs, the Church says, and spare “no effort or inconvenience” in preparing candidates for ordination.
In this effort, diligent and prudent spiritual direction is of the greatest value.
In addition to the targeting of specific candidates and giving good example, priests are commended to undertake general efforts:
In sermons, in catechetical instructions, and written articles, priests should set forth the needs of the Church both locally and universally, putting into vivid light the nature and excellence of the priestly ministry, which consoles heavy burdens with great joys, and in which in a special way, as the Fathers of the Church point out, the greatest love of Christ can be shown.
I was thinking how this can apply as well to any vocation. I could examine my own ministry over these past years and ask if I’ve been enthusiastic in identifying talented young people, encouraging them by writing and speaking in addition to making music. When Anita and I made out first Marriage Encounter in 1998, we were quite gung-ho on our experience for a few years. We encouraged our friends to make the ME weekend, and I think three or four couples eventually did.
Lay people could make a convincing case for others to undertake the “burdens and joys” of ordination. I’m constantly exposed to people who have striking but undertold tales of experiences with clergy that would inspire the thought to serve in others. We should remain diligent about telling our tales whenever we can.