During the Spring General Meeting of the Irish Bishops’ Conference in Maynooth, the Council of Vocations announced a year to promote Vocations to the Diocesan Priesthood, on the theme: ‘Take the Risk for Christ’.
To announce this initiative, Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan, chair of the Bishops’ Council for Vocations, along with a number of seminarians, priests and bishops attended a photocall in the beautiful and historic College Chapel of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth. At of the photocall, Bishop Cullinan said, “when I speak with newly ordained priests, there is a strong correlation between their calling and the influence and encouragement received from a priest who had previously spoken to them about their ministry, about taking the risk for Christ. One of the objectives of this Year of Vocations is to start conversations within families, with priests and in parish communities on the beauty of the vocation of priesthood.”
The year-long awareness campaign will open on 25 April, the Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist. On this date a special conference, entitled ‘Evangelization and Vocation’, will be hosted at the national seminary of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth. The keynote address will be delivered by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, Pro-Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Evangelisation. The Year for Vocations to the Diocesan Priesthood will run from Vocations/Good Shepherd Sunday, 30 April 2023. It is planned to host events each month in parishes and at pilgrim sites around the country, and to provide resources for homes and schools. The National Vocations Office is responsible for managing the Year of Vocations.
Bishop Cullinan said, “I encourage any man who seeks to explore their calling to priestly ministry to make contact today with your local priest, a priest you know and/or the National Vocations Office in Maynooth on firstname.lastname@example.org. May God bless you on your journey!”
At their plenary meeting, bishops offered the following prayer for vocations (source: the National Vocations Office of the Bishops’ Conference):
we ask you to send labourers into your harvest
and to bless all who strive to listen to your voice.
Inspire, in the hearts of men and women,
vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and
Bless our families with a spirit of generosity,
so that those whom you call have the courage
to give themselves to your Church in faith.
Send workers into Your great harvest
so that the Gospel is preached,
the poor are served with love,
the suffering are comforted,
and Your people are strengthened by the sacraments.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord.