Making faith, vocations cool again

August 16, 2017

As many of you know, every summer the young adults from the Archdiocese gather for a series of talks called Café Catholica.

As is the case most years, hundreds of young adults show up each week for confessions, Mass, dinner and a talk about faith. In July, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo gave his presentation and, at the end of it, he wanted some feedback from the young adults.

He wanted their responses to the survey Pope Francis put out (which can be filled out on, so he asked the young people what were the biggest areas of growth for the Church.
One gentleman in the back said, “To make vocations cool again!”

I’m really thankful that the camera was not on me when he said this. I’m sure that I probably looked pretty upset, maybe even like Kevin Durant at the ESPY award show. But after I let his comment sink in, I realized there was some truth to it.

I had a vocations table all five nights at Café Catholica and I had very little traffic. Only a handful of the hundreds of people that came to Café Catholica stopped by the vocations table to see what kind of discernment opportunities are out there.

There isn’t a whole lot of interest from young people when it comes to thinking about the priesthood and religious life. Vocations aren’t cool for young people.

That is really too bad, because being a priest or a sister is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things a person can do with their lives. But not many people see that. And it isn’t because we aren’t trying hard in the office of vocations!!!

We have countless programs to help young people discern and we are constantly visiting parishes telling them about how awesome priesthood and religious life can be. But with all that, we must still be missing something. Vocations aren’t cool. And I have been trying my best to make them cool.

If anyone has any ideas, you can email them to and I’ll be certain to read them. But maybe the problem isn’t me or the kinds of programs we have. Maybe it is much deeper.

In our world, spirituality and faith aren’t cool either. Occasionally, we might hear a story of a courageous person sharing faith, but that is not the norm. For “vocations to be cool again,” we need to pray that faith can be cool. We need to pray that all people will put God’s will at the center of their lives and will be open to doing what HE wants us to do.

If we listen to God, we will live holier lives. We will put faith at the center of our lives. Families will encourage their children to seek God’s will for their lives. People will choose to love instead of hate.

Young people will be attracted to lives of service and discipleship. And then maybe, just maybe, vocations can be cool again! †

Father T.J. Dolce is the director of the Archdiocesan Office of Vocations.