For many churches in America the New Year brings good news - bad news story. People are heading back to church in increasing numbers, but in many denominations there are not enough young clergy to go around.
As News on Six Rick Wells shows us, at least for the Catholic Church in Tulsa that may be changing. What if someone scheduled a church service and there was no pastor to serve. Not likely, but as Americans lean more heavily on their churches, the number of pastors is shrinking, and getting older. In the Catholic Church, one out of four priests are at least 70. Father Jack Gleason is one of Tulsa's younger Priests he's in his 7th year. He has a parish, but he also works with men interested in the priesthood, and he says that group is getting younger. "I just sense there are more young people kind of attuned to what would be the ideals of priesthood, bigger picture issues."
Father Stuart Crevcoure is one of those recent seminarians; he works with Father Gleason at his parish and here at TU. Unofficially he is Tulsa's youngest Priest by a couple of months. "I could have been working on Wall Street? During my time in seminary I'd wonder what if I'd chosen differently, I've always reflected that doing God's will in my life is where I find my true joy, my true happiness." Like the Marine Corps, the Catholic Church is looking for a few good young men.
Joe Williams is a junior at TU; he's from Barnsdall, a recent convert to the Church and wants to become a priest. "I'm immersed in my life here. I'm surrounded by the church; I'm surrounded by priests. I like what I see here, I enjoy this, and I thought I could do this the rest of my life." He's got some academic hurdles ahead, then four years of seminary education, followed by a lifetime of service at relatively low pay. It's quite a sacrifice for a young man. " I see this as I'm giving up something, but I'm getting a lot of other things, alot of things I enjoy doing."
Father Gleason sees a change in attitude, among young people, about religion. "There's a resurgence, and interest in faith, the deeper questions of life, what are they doing all this work for, what do they want to pass on to their children." Perhaps this new attitude will translate into an increased interest in service too.