Numerous people who work with young adults on a frequent basis, such as FOCUS Missionaries, have witnessed young adults having profound experiences on pilgrimages and mission trips that have led them to be more open to responding to a call from God to enter seminary or religious life. Why? Only God knows.
One reason, however, might be that experiencing real poverty in developing nations pulls them out of the norm, a me-centered, materialistic culture. Serving “the poor” and giving of themselves to others who have so little is a deep encounter of a Christ-like life that should characterize life of a priest and/or religious.
Another reason might be that by coming in physical contact with a place where Jesus or any of the saints lived enables them a spiritual portal into more transcendent prayer- which of course is listening. And when they are standing beside the Sea of Galilee or walking the hills of Assisi they can’t help but listen more clearly to what God is saying to them.
As one person said, if we want to increase vocations, “let’s stop the gimmicks and start using what works.”
Vocations directors, Serra Clubs, Knights of Columbus: make it a priority to book a pilgrimage for young adults to the Holy Land in the next year.