Church launches innovative vocations campaign

 The Church in England and Wales has launched a campaign to recruit new priests by advertising on beer mats and posters to be placed in locations frequented by young Catholics. This will be the first time that the Catholic Church in England and Wales has actively publicised priesthood outside of church buildings. Following the death of Pope John Paul II on April 2nd, there was a noticeable increase in enquiries about priesthood and religious life during the month of April. The recent 'Monastery' programme shown on BBC2 has also fuelled further interest. Father Paul Embery, director of the bishops' National Office for Vocation, which is responsible for the campaign, said: "We recognise that following the death of the Holy Father there has been a marked increase in interest in the priesthood and the Church generally. We are trying to develop that into something more long term." "Previously we have only advertised within the Church. By taking the campaign into other areas of young people's lives, we are hoping it will give them something to think about and keep the interest high." Asked if it was appropriate for the Church to advertise vocations to priesthood in this way, Father Embery said: "Pope John Paul didn't spend all his time in the Vatican. He went out, and took his message to where people were. We can do something similar to engage with young men and encourage them to think about priesthood." The beer mats, whilst commercially available, will also be used at social events where there are gatherings of Catholic young people, such as August's 'World Youth Day' in Cologne at which the new Pope, Benedict XVI, will be present. Last month the Diocese of Dublin launched a poster campaign on buses and trains in the city. For more information see:

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