God created all of us for a unique purpose. Even before we were born, he knew our vocation and our mission in life. As baptised Christians we all share in the priesthood of Christ and we are all called to work for Christ in our world. The response to this call takes many forms, in how we live our lives and in how we work, but within that context, vocation to the priesthood or religious life will always have a vital and fundamental place in Christian living. By sharing in the priesthood of Christ, by their daily sacrifices, prayers and spreading of the Gospel, God calls specific people to serve in His name in the midst of the community through the sacrament of Holy Orders as priests.
God has a plan
for each of us
He calls each of us by name. Our task is to learn how to listen, to discern his call, to be courageous and faithful in following him and, when all is said and done, to be found trustworthy servants who have used well the gifts given us
Such a call may come as a sense of longing for something more; wanting to be of service to others; a desire to commit one’s life completely to Christ; wanting to be of service to others in and through the Church; or perhaps a suggestion or invitation from another.
Pope Francis sums it up as follows:
“Even amid these troubled times, the mystery of the Incarnation reminds us that God continually comes to encounter us. He is God-with-us, who walks along the often dusty paths of our lives. He knows our anxious longing for love and he calls us to joy. In the diversity and the uniqueness of each and every vocation, personal and ecclesial, there is a need to listen, discern and live this word that calls to us from on high and, while enabling us to develop our talents, makes us instruments of salvation in the world and guides us to full happiness.”
FROM THE MESSAGE OF POPE FRANCIS FOR THE 2018 WORLD DAY OF VOCATIONS
I think I may have a Vocation to the diocesan priesthood, what to do?
Speak to your priest or contact the National Vocations Office. Either will advise you and put you in touch with your Diocesan Vocations Director.
The National Vocations Office organizes regular “Come and See” retreats in collaboration with the Diocesan Vocations Directors. Such retreats are for those who wish to find out more about the life of a priest and explore the possibility that they might have a vocation to the diocesan priesthood. Members of St. Josephs Young Priests Society have been asked to assist in publicising these retreats.
St. Joseph’s Young Priests Society also works in collaboration with The National Vocations Office in other ways e.g. helping to promote an initiative around World Day of Prayer for Vocations that a decade of the rosary be prayed for vocations in Ireland. Commenting on this, Father Willie Purcell, National Coordinator for Diocesan Vocations said, “This is an invitation to prayer we are extending to parishes, schools and families. Pope Francis said that ‘vocations are born in prayer, and only in prayer can they persevere and bear fruit”.
Handing on the Faith – a task for the whole Christian community
The number of vocations to the diocesan priesthood in Ireland has fallen to a very low level in terms of the future sustainability of our Church. We need priests to celebrate the sacraments, especially the Eucharist at Holy Mass. Where are our future priests in Ireland to come from?
It is worth pondering the words of the Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin, speaking at Tobernalt Holy Well in his diocese in July 2019:
“In previous centuries people risked their lives for the Eucharist and for the Word of God, coming to places like this in the early hours of the morning, whenever a priest might be in the area. In those days the persecution came from outside, but today there is a kind of apathy on the inside. I am speaking to you partly because your presence here at this hour of the morning is some indication of your commitment. As you know from your own experience, many of our priests are getting on in years. Those who are with me this morning are among the younger priests of the Diocese, but they are not much younger than I am……….. Of course we are blessed to have many very committed women and men in all of our parishes (and we have our volunteer catechists who have completed three years of their formation,) but we still need priests, even if we don’t need as many as we had in the past. But who? Who will be “Father” in each parish community? Who will celebrate the Eucharist in the future? Who will preach the good news of the Kingdom of God? Who will lead God’s people in prayer? Who will forgive sins in Jesus name? It can’t always be someone else’s son or someone else’s brother………. I have no interest in pushing anyone into the seminary who is not called to priesthood. But I believe that there are some who are called and possibly even some in this congregation. What I am asking all of you, young and old, men and women, is this; that when you pray the prayer Jesus taught us, please think about this particular need that the Diocese has for our daily bread, the bread of the Eucharist and of God’s word. Please pray “thy kingdom come; thy will be done in my life and in my family and among my friends” and let your heart be open to the working of God’s Spirit.”
All Called To Mission
Talking about a predicted future shortage of priests in his diocese in 2016, the Chairman of the Council of Priests of the Dublin Diocese asked people to consider: “how we as a faith community in the Diocese can work together to revitalise local Church communities, reawakening parishioners to the gift and call of baptism, reflecting on what it means to be ‘intentional disciples’ of Jesus, and developing within the community again the desire for priestly vocations. This is a programme for real participation of entire faith communities in the mission of the Church tomorrow.”
A thought for further contemplation: Research in one diocese in the USA found that 80% of the seminarians came from the 20% of parishes that have a vocations committee or ministry.
Referring to the 100th anniversary in October 2019 of the publication of the first major mission document of the 20th century by the Vatican, our Chief Chaplain, Fr. Séamus McEntee wrote as follows in an article published in the Sheaf: “The theme which Pope Francis has chosen for this extraordinary month of mission is ‘baptised and sent’. He wants to rekindle in every baptised person that sense that we are all called to mission, to witness, to teach, to win others for Christ. And being sent on mission is at the core of what SJYPS is about.”
Join Us In Our Mission
We in St. Joseph’s Priests Society believe that it is the task of all God’s people to be missionaries in the renewal of the Church in Ireland and in handing on the faith to future generations. Members of our Society are more than willing to work with others in parishes or through this website in praying for and promoting an increase in vocations to the diocesan priesthood in Ireland. We invite you to join us in this mission.