Fr. Michael Simone is the Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Wichita. He has written an article for the online edition of the Catholic Advance, his diocesan newspaper, reflecting on vocations in Wichita (all emphasis mine):
There is no doubt that forty-six seminarians are a sign that Catholic life is abundant in the diocese of Wichita. When you know them as well as I, you soon find that our seminarians are full of life, too.
What are these signs of life in the diocese? Where do seminarians come from? Why are our young men considering a call to the priesthood? Wouldn’t I like to know the answer?
All vocations are the result of a call from God. Yet, we must till the soil to allow our young children to hear that call. As the Director of Vocations, I believe forty-six seminarians are a direct result of the vibrant Catholic life in our diocese. There are three areas that should be highlighted to further understand where our seminarians come from.
The three areas that Fr. Simone has in mind are family life, parish life and what he terms "life through education and formation."
The family, according to Fr. Simone,
is the domestic Church, and it is the most fertile ground for vocations. It is in the family where young men and women not only form their values and beliefs, but where they learn to pray, and where they learn to live their faith. In the home, our youth learn attitudes toward God, the Church, and priests and sisters.
Healthy parishes are also important.
Because of the cultivation of a stewardship way of life, especially in our parishes, it has a direct result of cultivating vocations in our diocese.
Faithful stewards enliven our parish communities. By encouraging everyone to participate and to sacrifice for the life of the community, stewardship teaches our youth they are part of a mission greater than themselves. A natural result of this way of living is youth who are disposed to listening to God’s call and responding in service and sacrifice.
The last critical component is "our vibrant Catholic schools, PSR [religious ed] programs, youth programs, and programs like Totus Tuus." With regard to schools Fr. Simone writes,
Whenever I speak to someone from another diocese, I always brag – yes – brag, about our Catholic Schools. They are thriving. It is one reason we are a vibrant diocese. Although I am the product of public schools, I know that every dollar we spend on a Catholic education supports families who are passing on Christian values to their children. This investment helps young children to be formed in faith and to find their true vocation.
The Diocese of Wichita has just 120,000 Catholics, making it about one-third the size of DOR. Yet it also boasts of 39 Catholic elementary and high schools serving over 10,800 students and which are completely tuition free to every Catholic student. Finally, their system is growing, having added three schools and over 800 students during the last ten years.
The Diocese of Wichita has also been blessed with bishops who take their obligation to teach the Faith seriously and who have not sold out to cafeteria Catholic theologians, radical feminist priestess wannabes and liturgical abusers of all stripes.
And the Diocese of Wichita has forty-six seminarians.
Could the Holy Spirit be speaking here? Does anyone in DOR have ears to hear?