I REFER TO Father James Yeo's letter, "Nothing wrong if our young men go overseas to become priests" (CN, Oct 1, 2006) in a reply to mine of Sep 3 and wish to thank him for sharing his interesting views. He has indeed brought up some valid points concerning vocation.

In my letter, I stated my observations on our young men going overseas to become priests. While the whole church community is of course concerned with the issue of the shortage of priestly vocation, I am sure it is not unfair for me to comment that the church leadership and the relevant organization, who are equally or even more concerned with the problem, should pray and "do some soul-searching to search for the right answers".

My letter seeks to create awareness of the baffling trend which I agree is "not pandemic". But surely we, particularly the church leadership and the relevant organization, do not have to wait until it becomes a deeply entrenched trend before we find out why it is happening.

Nowhere in my letter did I either suggest or imply that the reality of people going overseas to become priests is portrayed as a sad thing to be avoided. If anything, I have the highest respect for young men who want to become priests and answer to that special calling either at home or overseas. I also hold in high esteem those who are prepared to make sacrifices to leave affluent Singapore including their loved ones to pursue their vocation in any of the priestly societies overseas.

In the spirit of Vatican II, I felt obliged as a layperson to share my observations.

    Nelson Quah

    Singapore 650524

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