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Archbishop tells clergy: Recruit your friends

By James L. Franklin, Globe Staff, 3/23/1984

here is a solution to the shortage of priests in the Catholic Church, according to Boston's new archbishop.

Every priest, deacon and seminarian should recruit another and the enrollment at the archdiocesan seminary should double, Archbishop Bernard F. Law told clergy at a reception last night in Boston.

"I hereby appoint everybody here as adjunct vocations director," he said in an impromptu, sometimes jocular address in the ballroom at the Park Plaza Hotel, still crowded two hours after the service at which he became Boston's archbishop.

"The seminary faculty have had it easy long enough," teased Archbishop Law. "If enough of you seminarians would bring back a friend after summer vacation, (the rector* wouldn't be as good a racquetball player."

The atmosphere was genial, and the prelate was surrounded by well-wishers throughout the evening. He was among the last to leave, bidding farewell to the last dozen guests about 8:40 p.m.

Although he joked about changes in assignments and deprecated his tendency to talk at length, the archbishop's spontaneous talk at the reception for clergy was as earnest and intense as the sermon he preached earlier.

"I'm convinced the vocation crisis will dissipate . . . if those who are called to ministry reflect the unity, joy, hope, faith and love I experienced today in that cathedral," Archbishop Law said.

"You have the key to the vocations crisis," he said.

The archbishop said that like every other priest he knew, his decision to enter the seminary was affected by "a model priest," a relationship that developed in Boston while he was a student at Harvard College.

"I give thanks to God that it was Boston priests who touched my life at that critical moment," he said.

"You can do a lot for the church in Boston and the church nationally if you will seize the initiative now . . . and we can just double the size of the seminary."

Thanking the clergy for their response to his earlier sermon, Archbishop Law said he sensed "your response is from the heart.

"The anxiety that caused me to wake at 3 this morning quickly dissipated once I got here," he said.

This story ran in the Boston Globe on 3/23/1984.
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