On Tuesday 7 March last, the second day of the Spring General Meeting of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, the Council of Vocations announced a year to promote Vocations to the Diocesan Priesthood, which will take place next month on the theme: ‘Take the Risk for Christ’. Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan, chair of the Council for Vocations of the Bishops’ Conference, a number of seminarians, priests and bishops launched the year in the College Chapel of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth.
Bishop Cullinan said, “from speaking to 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 ‘Evangelisation and Vocation: Diocesan Priesthood in a Synodal Church’, 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.
Bishop Cullinan concluded, “in 2023, answering God’s call to journey as a priest is a counter-cultural and courageous decision. Future priests need support to discern their vocation. I encourage any man who seeks to explore their calling to priestly ministry to make contact today with their local priest or diocesan vocations director. They would also be very welcome to attend our special conference next month.”