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8 Ways to Market Vocations

Our pastor shared this sobering statistic with us today:

  • In our diocese, we have just under 300 parishes.

  • We also only have 300 active priests.

  • And no new priests are being ordained this year.

That's not great math.

He exhorted us to pray fervently for vocations and added "We need more priests or else..." He trailed off and kind of shrugged helplessly. He didn't have to finish. We knew what the ending was.

It's no secret there's a drastic shortage of priests in the US. I did the math: in my diocese alone, each priest is responsible for about 9,100 souls. That's a 1 to 9100 ratio.

I worked in higher ed marketing and I can assure you...if we had that kind of professor to student ratio, we wouldn't have survived.

And yet we're asking our priests - who have a much weightier responsibility - to shoulder that burden.

With all of that in mind...this week is Vocations Awareness Week. Maybe the resources your diocese provided or you found online felt a bit lacking (at least in my opinion).

What do they lack the most? Personality and variety. Discernment of one's vocation is extremely personal and our promotion of it should be the same. Stock photos of priest with the quote about Melchizedek are nice, but they don't strike at the heart of any good marketing campaign: why.

And yes, we have a shortage of priests...but we also have a shortage of religious brothers and sisters and holy marriages and consecrated virginity. Because let's be honest...we can't solve the priest problem if we don't have holy marriages producing them and religious and laity alike forming youth in the faith as catechists, youth ministers, and the like.

So, here are eight tips for marketing vocations at your parish: