‘Pope Francis’ effect? Priest enrollment strong at seminary

(The Inquirer) By age 29, Henry Graebe had been crisscrossing the country for most of a decade, throwing himself into Republican political campaigns – and still the “whisper” he first heard in college would not go away.

“Why,” this devout young Catholic from Freehold, N.J., kept asking himself, “aren’t you becoming a priest?”

Then, on Sept. 26, 2015 – a day Philadelphia had been bracing for all year – he was working in Nebraska when he glanced at the little TV on his desk.

“I saw all these seminarians lined up on a staircase, awaiting the arrival of Pope Francis,” Graebe remembered last week.

He watched wide-eyed as Francis ascended the chapel steps at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, he said, and even more intently as dozens of smiling young men in black cassocks gathered around the pope for a photograph.

“I was in the heart of my discernment,” Graebe recalled, “still discerning the ‘if’ of a [religious] vocation as well as the ‘where,’ and right there I started to discern Philadelphia.” [More]


The Inquirer/Philly.com