INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- A National Catholic Youth Conference encouraged the nearly 24,000 teen-agers attending to consider religious vocations and help reverse the declining number of priests, sisters and brothers.
Participation by 49 bishops in roundtable discussions underscored the need for young recruits.
When Indianapolis Archbishop Daniel Buechlein told teens from his diocese they would be learning about vocations, they burst into a standing ovation. ''I was just short of being stunned,'' he said.
Brother James McVeigh, a Franciscan vocation director in South Huntington, N.Y., said youths in the current generation are more open to making a commitment than their predecessors.
Between 1965 and 2001, the U.S. Roman Catholic population grew from 45.6 million to 60.6 million while priests dropped from 58,632 to 45,191. During the same period, the number of sisters declined nearly 57 percent and the number of religious brothers dropped by 55 percent.
On the Net: National Catholic Youth Conference: http://www.ncyc.org
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