|01-02-2014 - Traces, n. 2
Approaching the annual Day of Prayer for Vocations, which has just passed its 50-year anniversary mark, we consider the state of the priesthood, which has been on a surprising global rise since the 1970s. This year’s USA tally of 3,694 graduate theology students represents a 16 percent increase since 1995 and a 10 percent jump since 2005, according to Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). In a recent homily, the Pope spoke about the priestly calling with great clarity and gratitude. Commenting on the anointing of King David, the Pope explained, “Without this anointing, David would have been only the head” of the “company” of a “political society, which was the Kingdom of Israel.” He would have been a mere “political organizer.” Instead, “after the anointing, the Spirit of the Lord” descended upon David and remained with him as he grew in power. “This,” said Pope Francis, “is precisely the difference anointing makes.” While in his homily the Pope thanked the many priests who give their lives in the anonymity of daily service, Traces looks at the difference this anointing has made for two priests whose work has not been so anonymous, who accepted “the call” which brought them to a life neither could ever have imagined.