What do you do as seminarians when you want to encourage more young men to consider the priesthood? For several Notre Dame Seminary students the answer was "build it and they will come"...build a website, that is.
The result: NOLApriest.com
"The NOLApriest.com project was in response to a very real need for engaging high school and college age men," said seminarian Colm Cahill, who took a lead on the project. "We really needed a platform that spoke to the multimedia generation, yet still communicated the fundamental considerationf of priestly formation and discernment."
The site was introduced to the priest of New Orleans at their annual convocation last week and the launch went public via that archdiocesan Facebook account and other social media platforms. In its first week, the site has hit its mark with 27.5% of visitors to the site in the 18 to 25 age group and 33.5% of vistors in the 25 to 34 year old age group.
"To see the site launch and begin to hit the social media arena has been quite affriming of our efforts," continued Cahill. "This project is meant to serve as a dorway for young men to approach the vocations office, and the stats keep climbing, which is a clear indication that we are reaching those for whom this project was intended."
According to those who worked on the project the site was a result of those who are passionate about the cause and recognized the need to engage young men "where they are" in life. In doing so the homepage features just a single video featuring the 2014 priestly ordination class in which the only voice is that of Archbishop Gregory Aymond's homily from the Ordination Mass. From there, vistiors to the site can navigate testimonies about seminary life, life as a young priest and frequently asked questions. The goal, according to those who worked on the project, is to allow yougn men to explore the call on their own and get some early questions answered so that they may then take the next step of contacting their parish priest or the Vocations office.
The site was built as a collaborative project between the seminarians of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, the Vocations Office and the Office of Communications.