This evening I attended a Vocations Evening in the neighbouring parish of St John the Baptist, Hackney, for the young men of the deaneries of Hackney and Tower Hamlets (east London). This was organised by the eminent parish priest of Hackney, Fr David Evans, who does excellent work with the local young people and is a regular and welcome visitor to my presbytery.
The formula was simple but effective: Vespers and Benediction, followed by a brief talk from Bishop Bernard Longley and the diocesan Vocations Director, Fr Chris Vipers. Then we had a buffet supper, at which point Bosco and Tomas, Fr Evans' boxer dogs, appeared.
There were about 20 young men present (including 3 from my parish). Who knows how many will proceed further - that is in God's hands - but such occasions, I am sure, help nurture the seeds of priestly vocations. I remember from my own time as a potential applicant how encouraging it was to meet like-minded people. If only every deanery or parish occasionally organised such an event and to actively pray and promote vocations!