As the downward spiral in religious vocations continues to show little or no sign of slowing down the Franciscan Order in Ireland is taking its own steps to try to reverse the trend. The order’s friars are to advertise for new recruits online.
The idea was the brainchild of Fr Adrian Peelo, who’s the provincial director of vocations of the Franciscan Order in Ireland and is part of a broader push on his part to beef up numbers.
The employment website today confirmed that the Franciscan Order would become the first religious group in the country to use the internet in such a way. The ad is to due to go online at Irishjobs.ie tomorrow but the order already has a profile of its work posted on the site – www.irishjobs.ie/Member.asp?Mid=1899< Speaking to siliconrepublic.com Fr Peelo explained how the idea took root: “It came about because two of my US colleagues told me that most of the people who were coming to the order in the US were coming via the internet and so I thought we’ve got to advertise ourselves on the net. One of my Irish colleagues had a niece working with Irishjobs.ie so we thought about that and came up with the idea that may be should too.”
He continued: “It may be funny to see ourselves alongside Glanbia and Smurfit but we’re offering something very different. We’re setting out our stall, offering a challenging, wonderful and interesting life. We’re having to do things in a different way as our needs grow.”
“We already have our own website, www.franciscans.ie, and are hoping to develop that. We have employed someone to do this so that people looking at Irishjobs.ie can look at more information. We’re living in a very technological age and we need to be there.”
“I’ve absolutely no idea how many responses we’ll get. We’re just jumping in here. We may get nobody. We may be just a curiosity and people might say what’s that? But my view is if you’re not in you can’t win.”
Director of Irishjobs.ie, Maria Mahon, told siliconrepublic.com: “Basically they wanted to reach the widest possible audience and our perspective is that we have the largest online audience. They are using it as a means of raising their profile. They’re not expecting hundreds of responses because it’s a vocation-led thing. Their biggest market is in the US where the Franciscan would use it as one of their main media sources.”
By Suzanne Byrne