Yesterday an audience of over 100 people committed to vocations to the diocesan priesthood, including seminarians, clergy, mothers, fathers and other members of the lay faithful gathered in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth. The theme of the conference was ‘Evangelisation and Vocation’ and it was hosted by the National Vocations Office of the Irish Bishops’ Conference.
During the conference, Bishop Cullinan shared a short film on the personal testimonies of vocations from priests: Take the Risk for Christ. The film was commissioned by the National Vocations Office and produced by the religious congregation, Servant Sisters – Home of the Mother.
Bishop Cullinan said, “In my life I have known great priests, both diocesan and religious. I think that most people have known good, hard-working priests. These men have inspired and helped countless people. The priesthood was instituted by Christ himself to follow in his steps and will always be essential in the mission of Christ’s Church on earth to serve and sanctify the people so that the world may be sanctified and that we human beings will find the way in life that leads to eternal happiness. Right now in Ireland we need more priests. In spite of all the distractions of modern life God is still calling men to follow him in this way, of that we can be sure. Pope Francis has written a message to us for this Year for Vocation, and the Holy Father encourages us to propose priesthood to the men of this generation with faith and confidence. I am really looking forward to the whole year and all the events which are planned. I ask people all around the country, and indeed wherever this message is heard, to pray throughout this year, especially, that there will be a particular focus on priesthood so that seeds will be planted in young men’s hearts and that – with God’s help – this special year will produce a lot of priestly vocations.”
Speaking at the conference, Father Willie Purcell, National Diocesan Vocations Coordinator, said, “This year marks the 60th anniversary of the initiation of the annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations, instituted by Saint Pope Paul VI in 1963 during the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. The World day of prayer for Vocations is also referred to as Good Shepherd Sunday. We see in Jesus, the Good Shepherd, the heart of every calling. As we launch this Year for Vocation to the Diocesan Priesthood, on the theme ‘Take the Risk for Christ’, our televised Mass this Sunday at 11.00am on RTÉ One unites us in prayer for vocations to the priesthood, consecrated life, and permanent diaconate. I am grateful to RTÉ for providing this opportunity for us to join with the world through the media of television, and the internet, as one family praying for vocations as we walk the synodal pathway in hope.”
The entire conference was livestreamed on YouTube by iCatholic and can be watched here: Part 1 and Part 2.