Lester: ‘Where’s Waldo’ wearing a black robe

Kerry Lester

Whether many of us are aware of this or not, an extinction is happening right in front of Villanova’s very eyes.

No, not the trees of the campus’s famous arboretum, the hawks and owls occasionally spotted by avid bird watchers, or even the small herd that has yet to give in to purchasing cell phones.

The species I’m hinting at here is indeed kept in a sort of sanctuary – one that has been spruced up lately to become wheelchair friendly.

You’ll spot them most often on their way to give lectures on the likes of religion, history, philosophy, even economics. If you’re a theater buff, you might go to a play and see a rare type of award-winning director.

Like a depressing sort of “Where’s Waldo?” our campus will soon become a prime location for “Where are the Augustinians?” Villanova is not alone in its increasingly difficult hunt for men of the cloth. Catholic churches, schools and universities across the country are facing a crisis in the shortage of priests.

As a woman, I watch the lights go out one by one with my hands tied behind my back. I can do absolutely nothing, at least not yet, about personally satisfying this shortage. But who would want to do it, anyways? What can the possible benefits of being a priest or brother be?

Yes, one does give up certain pleasures in life – marriage, family, personal wealth. However, the benefits one receives for the sacrifices made seem to come back a hundredfold.

I cannot think of a better way to attend a friend’s wedding than by saying the Mass. And think of the joy of dipping a baby into a vat of holy water for the first time. Besides, your wardrobe options can’t get much simpler.

“Where’s Waldo?” may indeed be on its way out. However, let Dr. Seuss’ “Oh! The Places You’ll Go,” be the new theme of one of the finest Augustinian centers in the world, Villanova.

The priesthood is indeed one of the most respected and vital professions there are. I will never know the true courage it takes to volunteer oneself for such a life. But if you have any inkling at all that this could be your calling, I strongly urge you to check it out. After all, black is ALWAYS in style.

At the very least, sit back and enjoy the ride. Without help, it could be some of the friars’ last.