The Diocese of Portsmouth will have 14 seminarians at the start of the new academic year, the highest number in living memory.
Fr Gerard Flynn, vocations director for the diocese, thanked people for their prayers and asked that they continue to pray for current seminarians and for more vocations.
The men are spread across six different seminaries, including Allen Hall in London, the Venerable English College in Rome and the Royal English College of Valladolid.
Portsmouth diocese now has one of the highest numbers of seminarians in England, ahead of dioceses such as Clifton, which has seven, and Southwark, which has 12.
Last week Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth announced the creation of a centre dedicated to vocations and the new evangelisation.
The Adoremus Centre, based on the island of Alderney, is intended to be a “house of prayer” for vocations to all states of life and ministry in the Church, but particularly to the priesthood, the bishop said.
In May he urged all Catholics in his diocese to make prayer for vocations a “central priority”. In a pastoral letter he wrote: “We are short of priests, but priests do not come out of thin air. They come from prayer and fasting. Please pray for more priests. Why not say the rosary for this intention? Or offer up your Friday abstinence?
“Or if you watch a football match, ask God to call one of the players or one of the fans,” he suggested.
The number of people entering seminary in England and Wales has fallen slightly in recent years.
In 2010 the figure was 56, its highest level in a decade. The number then stayed in the 30s and 40s in the following years. In 2016, however, the number of seminary entrants dropped to 25.
Cardinal turns 85 in hospital
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, who is seriously ill in hospital, marked his 85th birthday last week.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols said: “We assure you of our prayers and love … May God fill you with the joy of knowing that you are held in his loving care, even as you were at the moment of your birth.”
It is understood that Pope Francis has phoned the cardinal to offer his prayers.
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