Matthew Hardesty is a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Louisville, KY -->The Louisville Courier-Journal, usually critical (if not hostile) to the Catholic Church, redeemed itself somewhat with a recent article on seminarians in the Archdiocese of Louisville, KY. The title was interesting: "Few Hear Call to Priesthood in Archdiocese." Apparently, God and the Editor-in-Chief are pretty tight, so much so that God gave him a list of every person in the archdiocese who He has called to the priesthood. Pretty amazing. Personally, I would have went with, "Seminarians Reppin in Archdiocese"....but that's just me.
Of course, Peter Smith, the author of the article, couldn't help but share his theological wisdom with us either. The parenthetical statement in the following quote is his:
"Louisville's problems are echoed nationwide, with the United States seeing a 30 percent drop in priests since 1965. (Despite efforts by some activists, the church has remained committed to an all-male, celibate priesthood, greatly narrowing its field of candidates.)Mr. Smith, we know how bad you want your daughter to be a priest one day, but please, if you could be so kind, keep your religious sentiments out of your "objective" reporting.
Beyond that, the article was alright. It presented the soon-to-be-installed Bishop Kurtz and his success in fostering vocations to the priesthood as a reason to be positive about the situation in Louisville. They got some good quotes from seminarians, including my twin brother Matt, who is currently preparing for the diocesan priesthood at St. Mary's in Baltimore. A few quotes from/about him:
The current crop of seminarians say that if Kurtz is to cultivate more prospective priests here, it probably won't be through dramatic spiritual epiphanies but rather through patiently cultivating the sense of a calling.And, again at the end of the article:
"A lot of times, the culture and our society present obstacles where it's hard to hear that call," said Matthew Hardesty, 27, an Owensboro native who is studying at St. Mary's Seminary.
"Sometimes it does take that direct invitation" from the church, he said. "We need to be not afraid to make that invitation."
For Hardesty, the call came in an unusual way. A Protestant girlfriend in college asked questions about his Catholic faith that he could not answer.
He went online, studying Catholic Web sites and becoming so gripped by what he found that he soon pursued the priesthood.
Local seminarians, meanwhile, noted that while they were disturbed by the sexual abuse crisis in the church -- which was at its peak in the Archdiocese of Louisville at precisely the time when the number of new seminarians dropped almost to zero -- it didn't affect their sense of calling.The Messenger-Inquirer ran almost the same article, but chose a different quote from Matt:
"I felt like there's no better time than now to be a priest," Hardesty said. "It was all the more reason to be a priest so that we could go out there and show people that the church … is still strong and still alive and it's still young."
The current group of seminarians from Louisville said Kurtz will need patience in bringing more men to the priesthood. "A lot of times, the culture and our society present obstacles where it's hard to hear that call," said Matthew Hardesty, 27, an Owensboro native who is studying at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore. "Sometimes it does take that direct invitation" from the church, he said. "We need to be not afraid to make that invitation."Hardesty keepin it real. I'm so proud :D You can read the Courier Journal article here, and the Messenger-Inquirer version at my brother's blog.