‘Vocation Boom’ to honor Bishop Olmsted’s efforts to grow ranks of clergy

Vocation Boom, an organization aimed at fostering vocations, will honor Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted Feb. 20 at a benefit dinner.

The Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted is the bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix. He was installed as the fourth bishop of Phoenix on Dec. 20, 2003, and is the spiritual leader of the diocese's 820,000 Catholics.
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted will be honored Feb. 20 at the Vocation Boom event in Scottsdale.

Jerry Usher, founder and president of Vocation Boom, has spent 30 years in radio, including 10 years as a host of Catholic Answers Live. He said Vocation Boom chose Bishop Olmsted for his dedication to the priesthood.

“We really wanted to say a big thank you to Bishop Olmsted for his own love for the priesthood, his episcopal ministry and his fervent devotion to cultivating more priestly vocations,” Usher said.

Fr. Paul Sullivan, director of the office of vocations for the Phoenix Diocese, said Bishop Olmsted’s steady support of young people is one way of helping grow vocations.

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Vocation Boom

When: 6:30 p.m.,  Feb. 20
Where: Orange Tree Golf Club 10601 N. 56th St., Scottsdale
Info: 1-844-Go-Priest or (541) 212-8616
Order tickets

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“Whereas it may be tempting in our culture to give up on young people and the struggles they go through, he believes in them,” Fr. Sullivan said. He also pointed to the priests who have been assigned as chaplains at local Catholic high schools as well as the priests assigned to serve at Newman Centers on college campuses in the diocese.

“This is what will ultimately bring vocations — vocations come from evangelization and the conversion of youth,” Fr. Sullivan said.

Usher noted that when it comes to vocations to the priesthood, there’s plenty of good news. Unfortunately, he said, most people haven’t heard it.

Many seminaries across the country, Usher said, are full and are resorting to temporary housing to accommodate the influx.

“The news is really good but it’s going to take a generation or two before we really feel what’s going on,” Usher said. So what’s causing the vocation boom?

“I believe it’s the Holy Spirit opening the eyes and hearts of young men who can truly do anything they want. They are the best of the best,” Usher said.

The Diocese of Phoenix has a record number of men studying for the priesthood this year. The 31 seminarians are spread out among seminaries, with 15 at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Ohio, and others in Denver, Rome and Mexico.

“We have more new ones than any other year,” Fr. Sullivan said. “We have 11 new ones this year.”

Well-known Catholic speaker and blogger Hector Molina will give the keynote address at the Feb. 20 event.