National News

Paulists Revamp Ministries, Showing Need to ‘Triple the Ask’ for Religious Vocations

Father Isaac Hecker, founder of the Paulist community, is pictured in an undated painting. The Paulists are shutting down several ministries due to the order’s declining members, with the impact felt nationwide. (Photo: OSV News photo/courtesy Paulist Fathers)

An order of priests is revamping its ministries due to a downturn in vocations. According to the congregation’s communications director, the move highlights the church’s need to “triple the ask” for young men to consider religious life.

On March 13, the Paulist Fathers, a missionary society of Catholic priests, made a significant announcement. They revealed their decision to gradually withdraw from their active roles at two prominent universities—the University of California at Berkeley and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York—and three parishes across the United States. Additionally, they will integrate three other long-standing initiatives into their new strategy.

Paulist Father René Constanza, the order’s president, said three flagship media ministries—Paulist Press, Paulist Productions, and Busted Halo—will continue to be key expressions of our mission to the United States and worldwide.

In February, Father Constanza announced the order had been discerning the revisions since June 2022, noting that the number of aging priests and declining vocations indicated “the current situation is not sustainable.”

The order’s communications director, Paul Snatchko, told OSV News that there are 101 Paulist Fathers, including six seminarians and one novice. He said the Paulists are investing more in vocation recruitment and that the ministry announcement should serve as a call to Catholics to invite more young men to consider the priesthood.