The following comes from an April 8 Inland Catholic Byte story:
Only one other time in its history has the Diocese of San Bernardino ordained as many priests as it will next month when Jose Antonio Orozco, Ken Vu, Carlos Martinez, Dominic Vu (no relation), Hau Vu (no relation) and Tomas Guillen take their vows.
Bishop Gerald Barnes will ordain the six men at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Chino Hills on May 21. The last and only other seminarian class that large came in 2008.
Welcoming six to the ranks of Diocesan priests will help to address the significant need for priests in the nation’s sixth largest diocese.
The Diocese currently has a ratio of 1 priest per 6,117 Catholic parishioners, believed to be one of the smallest nationally. The Diocese has been able to meet the spiritual and sacramental needs of its people in part through the increased presence of religious order priests here.
In fact, today there are more religious priests in ministry in the Diocese than there are diocesan priests.
The positive trend in ordinations continues next year, as five more seminarians are expected to take their vows. While this is joyful and helpful, it will leave the pipeline of seminarians less than full, notes Sister Sarah Shrewsbury, O.S.C., Director of Vocations for the Diocese. With 11 seminarians moving on to the presbyterate this year and next, that could leave less than 30 men in priestly formation, a sizeable drop from the high of 43 in 2011, and well below the goal of 50 set by the Vocations Office of the Diocese.
While parishes in the Diocese have done a great job over the past decade plus in promoting vocations to the priesthood, they must now go from “assertive to aggressive” in helping to identify and encourage those men who are being called by God to become a priest, said Sr. Shrewsbury.
“It’s a critical time,” she said. “We need to keep filling the pipeline and every parish needs to help.”