It now time to talk about " What's going right in the United States Catholic Church". Bad news sells and sadly we Catholic social media types often buy into the negative stories pushed by the media only and forget to provide some balance at times.
So today we are looking at the Diocese of Nashville that is celebrating its 175 anniversary.
A couple of days ago a Diocese of Nashville Seminarian tweeted:
Why I love the Diocese of #Nashville: this morning 34 seminarians celebrated 175th birthday w/ the 11th bishop over the 1st bishop's tomb .
Those are some very good numbers for a Diocese that has just 80,000 registered Catholics and in which the Catholic population is just 3.4 percent of the population as a whole. Somehow a strong Catholic faith and ID is being maintained here.
He also informed me that there are more men in the pipeline. If all goes well, we will have 6-8 ordained to the diaconate in '13.
That is a pretty darn good number. Also this is coming in the days after the sexual abuse scandal where the Church is being very careful in not just taking anyone with a pulse. In other words a lot more screening is taking place.
So again what the Diocese of Nashville is doing right should seem to be a topic of interest to all Catholics in the USA. Vocations to the Priesthood are not by themselves the lone indicator that things are going all guns in a Diocese of course. However they are a good indication a lot is going right.
Their Vocation page is here. Note it needs a little updating since this pic shows 26 seminarians.
A good place I like to look when I see numbers like this is too look at their local Catholic newspaper. Here is the latest edition. It seems like a pretty vibrant diocese. Looking at page 4 of the paper it appears such things as Adoration is very well encouraged and practiced.
On the campus ministry level it appears the Dioceses is very proactive. That includes bringing in such groups as FOCUS to places like Vanderbilt.
I would love to learn more on what is happening on the ground there. Needless to say this is the home base of the famous Nashville based Dominicans that must contribute in many many ways.
I could not help but notice they take Seminary education quite seriously in this Diocese. In this recent article Seminarian prepares for final year of study in Rome it is noted they have 5 seminarians at the North American College in Rome which seems like a pretty high number. The above Seminarian whose tweets I posted is attending the Pontifical College Josephinum which is sort of the Marine Corp for Priesthood "recruits". None of these schools are very easy nor cheap for that matter so the Diocese seems to be investing in the future a great deal.
This does appears to be one of those "Bible Belt" Diocese that is worth watching in when applicable perhaps try to incorporate what they are doing right elsewhere.