Why do you have so many vocations?
In recent years, the Province of St. Joseph has experienced a marked increase in vocations; after many years of a stable number of around thirty-five men in formation, the province will have over 70 by the summer 2014. Dramatic change always causes people to look for the reason for the change. Because a vocation is a mystery of the Holy Spirit’s work in the world, the question of the rise in vocations in the Province of St. Joseph admits no strongly definitive answer.
That being said, the following is an initial effort to understand and explain this phenomenon, interpreting both the history of the province and the action of grace. The text of this talk was originally given as a conference by Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia, O.P., to the capitulars of the provincial chapter of the Province of St. Joseph (2010) on the feast of Bl. John Dominic at Providence College. It is not strictly a resolution to the question “Why so many vocations?”, but another question posed in response: “Who knows the ways of the Lord?”
Fr. Benedict Croell OP also did an interview with Regina Magazine, offering more insight.
How do I prepare to enter?
Men who are thinking seriously about Dominican life are encouraged to become an aspirant for the Province of St. Joseph, as a way of growing in knowledge about and desire for the Dominican vocation. Information about the program can be found here. Within the document you will find concrete suggestions you can begin to implement into your life now. These suggestions of what you can do now will help you regardless of where you ultimately go.
What do I do if my parents don’t support my vocation?
Not everyone receives news of his son’s desire to enter religious life with equal joy. Some parents may find the idea upsetting or bizarre; even in loving their son and wanting the best for him, a religious vocation can be hard for some parents to understand. This situation is not uncommon, and need not create insurmountable difficulties for your vocation or your relationship with your parents. Fr. Andrew Hofer, O.P., student master for the Province of St. Joseph, addresses the question practically and sympathetically here.
Will the Dominicans help me to pay off my loans so that I may enter?
The law of the Church cautions religious communities to admit candidates to the novitiate who are burdened with debts they cannot pay. Talk with the vocation director in order to consider equitable solutions – there are a number of things to consider. Ordinarily, student loans that go beyond your own abilities in a timely manner are handled by The Labouré Society or The Mater Ecclesiae Fund to enter the novitiate. If you have debt, resolve excessive student loans and all personal debt.
Must I finish college before I enter?
In the words of our Constitutions, “Since the ministry of the Word and of the sacraments of faith is a priestly office, ours is a clerical Order…” For this reason, most friars are priests or clerical brothers pursuing the priesthood, and thus require graduate theological education. In our Province, friars complete their initial theological formation at the Dominican House of Studies, a graduate school of theology and a Pontifical faculty. If a man feels called to Dominican priesthood, he must have at least a 4 year undergraduate degree before entering. Men who are interested in the cooperator brother vocation must have at least 2 years of college or 2 years of work experience.