Iowa’s largest Catholic Diocese says efforts to recruit more men into the priesthood are showing success. The Des Moines Diocese, like many others across the country was faced with a declining number of men seeking to become priests. Father John Acrea (Ay-cree) says they decided to try a new approach and actively recruit new priests through posters, radio ads and visits to high schools and colleges. Acrea says it appears to be paying off as they’ve gone from three seminarians in 1998 to 14 in 2002. He says they decided they had to go recruiting instead of waiting for the “walk ons” to come to them. He says his goal was to get 20, but 14 will help turn things around. Acrea says the new candidates are from two groups.He says they see those looking for a second career, and those just beginning their career. The Catholic Church has been under a cloud over the sexual abuse scandal, but Acrea says that hasn’t seemed to deter new recruits. Acrea says seminarian recruits have told him the see it as a challenge, with this approach. He says they say, “We can do better than that.” Acrea says he’s heard of recruiting success in other Diocese too. You may think the call to priesthood would come on a beam of light out of the sky — but Acrea says it doesn’t happen that way.He says most people say they were approached by a priest who though they might be good at the job, or other say they get the idea while praying. Acrea says they’ll continue the “21st Century” marketing techniques to promote the priesthood to men.
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