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Andrew Dinners continue in Cincinnati archdiocese

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

By David Eck

ARCHDIOCESE — Nearly 180 young men have been encouraged to consider the possibility of becoming priests during a series of Andrew Dinners held across the Cincinnati archdiocese over the past year.

There have been eight dinners so far. The first was in April 2009 at Holy Angels Parish in Sidney. The goal is to hold Andrew Dinners in each of archdiocese’s three regions twice a year, said Father Kyle Schnippel, archdiocesan vocations director.

Andrew Dinner
Father Ryan Ruiz attended an Andrew Dinner where he answered questions from young men during the meal. (Courtesy photo)

“A number of the guys who came in the fall are now applying for the seminary for this coming fall,” Father Schnippel said. “It’s really helped increase interest for the college seminaries in particular.”

Three additional dinners are scheduled for later this year.

In addition to dinner and social time, the evening includes a video, presentations from priests and seminarians and a talk by Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr. The priests and seminarians share their vocation stories. The night ends with evening prayer.

The event is named after St. Andrew, who, according to the Gospel of John, brought his brother, Peter, to meet Jesus. Archbishop Schnurr began the dinners in Duluth, Minn., when he was that diocese’s bishop, and wanted to start the events here.

Father Schnippel is anticipating that 10-12 men will enter the seminary this fall. The Cincinnati archdiocese currently has 26 men in various stages of priestly formation, not including two who were ordained this spring.

“We’re working on trying to increase that number,” Father Schnippel said. “We want to get up to around 20 new (seminarians) every year.”

The Andrew Dinners are part of that effort. The informal setting allows for personal interaction and is not as overwhelming as a lecture at a seminary may be.

“It seems to be working pretty well. It sets a relaxed tone, and guys seem to like how we’re doing it,” Father Schnippel said. “It’s just a non-pressure way of hearing different options. I think it makes a little more real to them . . . the possibility of the priesthood.”

David Eck can be reached at deck@catholiccincinnati.org.

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