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Abbot Deok-hyeon Yoo - Is there a solution to the crisis of declining vocations?



[Anchor Lead] Yesterday was the day of consecrated life to pray for the religious. However, over the past 10 years, the number of members of the religious order has steadily decreased. How do the religious who are engaged in nurturing vocations from each religious order see this? Also, one cannot help but wonder what efforts should be made to develop the capital sanctuary. Reporter Kim Hyun-jung reports. [Reporter] Over the past 10 years, the number of men and women enrolled in religious orders has steadily decreased. Compared to 10 years ago, the total number of monks increased, but the number of novices decreased. It means that the number of members of the religious order has decreased by that much. Even large monasteries with hundreds of members do not have vocations, so there are cases in which they operate international training centers in Hong Kong or the Philippines to survive. As of 2017, the parish established religious congregation has more foreigners than Korean practitioners. This also applies to both men and women. The female religious order belonging to the Apostolic Life Group has also increased the number of foreign practitioners. It is often said that monks are ‘the virtues of the church’. So it is even expressed that the virtue of the church disappears when the monks disappear. This sense of crisis is fully sympathized with by the vocational directors and priests of the religious congregation.

<Father Yu Myeong-il / Salesian Korean Provincial Vocation Manager> “(The number of members of the Salesian Order) will decrease to two this year, and there will probably be none next year. I think we may be a barometer that represents the sanctuary of the capital of Korea. There are also people who say that if the number of vocations decreases in the Salesian Society, there is nothing to say about other places.” The main reason for the decrease in the number of pilgrims in the capital is the decrease in population. But monks say they need to look back on themselves first. <Abbot Yu Deok-hyeon / Chairman of the Superior Council of the Apostolic Life Group of the Korean Men’s Religious Society> “I think that the lack of spirituality cultivated in faith and self-discipline is the biggest problem of the lack of vocations that religious orders are experiencing.” The decrease in capital vocations is a global phenomenon, but it seems urgent to find or recruit vocations to the capital. <Father Yu Myeong-il / Salesian Korean Provincial Vocation Manager> “I think the most important thing is to approach young people more kindly. This is also called affectionate intimacy.” <Father Yeongjun Lee / Chairman of Media Apostolate of the Society of the Blessed Martyrs in Korea> “We need to open up a lot of opportunities to meet young people… Such a system in which a Catholic club takes charge of a school and is dedicated to it... Those efforts to meet more religious friends are now very active efforts.” At the same time, there is also a voice of self-reflection, saying that we should start by finding the original intention and striving for training like a monk. <Father Yoon Joo-hyun / Former Provincial Head of Carmelite Men's Congregation in Korea> “According to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, religious are those who are responsible for the life and holiness of the Church. When you live this part faithfully, you see that light and see the spiritual light, and young people voluntarily follow the Lord.” <Abbot Yu Deok-hyeon / Chairman of the Superior Council of the Apostolic Life Group of the Korean Men’s Religious Society> “We cannot be too concerned about the decline in vocations. Rather, we, the existing religious, should first become saints by taking it as an opportunity for new renewal given by God.” This is CPBC Kim Hyeon-jeong. Reporter Kim Hyeon-jeong of cpbc (scholastica@cpbc.co.kr) | Enter: 2023-02-03 18:00 ■ When quoting interviews and articles, please clearly indicate the source 'cpbc Catholic Peace Broadcasting'.

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