The St. Mary’s Seven: How One Parish Gave the Church Seven Priests in Seven Years
Since 2003, St. Mary’s parish [in Hudson, Ohio] has seen approximately 25 men discern the call to the priesthood, with nine as priests. According to priests and parishioners, the “secret” to the parish’s vocations culture is proposing to youth, by word and example, the beauty of living their lives in fellowship and prayer with Jesus Christ and making seminary a normal part of a young man’s discernment when considering where Jesus is calling him.
Father Mann said St. Mary’s “is a very happy parish” that has produced “normal and joyful priests.”
“We had a very strong youth ministry and a priest who was fully happy and engaged in his priesthood,” Father Mann said. The parochial vicar at the time, Father Damian Ference, was actively engaged with St. Mary’s youth ministry, “knew us by name, looked us in the eyes and said, ‘You should consider being a priest.’”