If I were in the position to receive a cent for the amount of times that I am asked the question: 'How many do you think will join the province this year?', then I would be very well off indeed! It is certainly the most frequently asked question of me by my Dominican brothers! I am very often inclined to respond in the same way as one of my predecessors '......and how many have you asked to join this year?' Cliched and all as that answer is, it has a strong message in it. The fact of the matter is that all of us are called to be vocations directors and vocations promoters!
Would the disciples have taken the risk to join Jesus if he had not asked them? We don't know, but one thing is certain - they were called. And in being called, they responded. It is the duty of all baptised members of the Catholic Church to ask the question about commitment to faith and the question of how best to serve God. If we don't ask, then nothing will happen!
'How are the other religious orders doing?' is another favourite question among religious. The Irish Episcopal Commision's Council for Research and Development carries out survey each year to determine these facts, figures and numbers. The results of previous surveys can be seen at the website for Irish Catholic communications. These surveys don't always make for pleasant reading. I dont know what statistics are like this year, but anecdotal evidence suggests there has been a slight increase in vocations over the past three year period.
So, the numbers game continues. There will be no numbers in the future unless we ask the question!