Vocations Sunday 2021 – 25th April 2021
Outside of Ars in France, there is a statue of Jean Marie Vianney who was appointed Curé or Parish Priest of the village in 1818. As the priest approached the village, he asked for directions. When he was given the information, he said gratefully, “You have shown me the way to Ars; now I will show you the way to Heaven”. In this simple expression ‘now I will show you the way to Heaven’, the Curé d’Ars outlined the ministry of diocesan priesthood for he understood his role as priest was to sanctify, to evangelise and to be a shepherd to the People of God.
The priest is the servant of the mysteries of God. He is ordained a priest to celebrate the sacraments in which people experience the divine mystery that is God. Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders; the priest becomes; as the steward of the sacred mysteries, ‘in persona Christi’ – ‘in the person of Christ’. That is, through the priest, despite his human failings, the presence of God is manifested, a presence that converts, heals and saves souls.
The priest is the herald of the Gospels and is obliged to make known Jesus Christ to those baptised in his name and to those who wish to know him. In doing this, the priest must preach the Gospel in his words and deeds. It is his responsibility to preach the faith as taught by the Church and not to change it to suit the times he lives in or to express personal opinions. He is tasked with providing spiritual nourishment that strengthens the faith and spiritual lives of those entrusted to his care.
The priest is a guide and pastor to the people of the parish in which he ministers and lives. He must build and maintain community among the local Church and with the Diocesan Church and Bishop, whose representative he is in his parish. Through the priest’s pastoral work, God is present in people’s lives, in their moments of great joy and despair, in their need for forgiveness and healing and when they gather to worship at Sunday Mass.
To sanctify, to evangelise, to be a shepherd to the flock entrusted to the care of a priest today is far from easy. The aggressive secularism, the strong anti-clericalism and the spiritual decline in the Ireland of the last thirty years means that priestly ministry requires inner strength, perseverance and imagination, and deep spiritual resources rooted in prayer.
And into this difficult world God continues to call men to the priesthood. In Waterford and Lismore, we have four men at different stages of formation and study for the priesthood. One of these men, John McEneaney, will be ordained a deacon today, Good Shepherd Sunday, in Tramore and all going good, will be ordained a priest for our diocese later this year. This is a sign of hope; that God’s call to priesthood is still heard and answered in our country. So let us continue to pray for vocations to the priesthood, and if your son, your brother, your friend is discerning a call to priesthood from God, reassure him of your love and support in his vocation. To answer God’s call to priesthood is to be in, as the Curé d’Ars remarked “the love of the heart of Jesus”.
Prayer for Vocations
For the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore
Lord Jesus, you have told us that the ‘the harvest is great but the labourers are few. Pray, therefore, to the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his fields’. We ask you Lord, to send labourers into your fields which are awaiting holy priests, heroic missionaries, dedicated brothers and sisters.
We pray in particular for vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life in the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore. Enkindle in the hearts of our people, the grace and courage to hear and answer your call.
May they respond with generosity, freedom and joy. May their lives serve as a witness to the fact that our deepest joy is to be found in you alone.
Grant that Christian families may encourage and affirm such vocations, and that they may desire to give to your Church helpers in proclaiming the Good News to the world of tomorrow. Amen.
Prayer to Our Lady For Vocations
Mary, Most Holy, as a young woman, living in Nazareth, you nurtured with loving care the Word of God made flesh. Please protect and accompany all men, especially from our diocese, who are called to a vocation to the priesthood. Amen.
Prayer for Vocations
Pope Benedict XVI
O Father, raise up among Christians, abundant and holy vocations to the priesthood, who keep the faith alive and guard the blessed memory of your Son Jesus, through the preaching of his Word and the administration of the sacraments with which you continually renew the Faithful.
Grant us holy ministers of your altar, who are careful and fervent guardians of the Eucharist, the sacrament of the supreme gift of Christ for the redemption of the world. Call ministers of your mercy, who, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, spread the joy of your forgiveness.
Grant, O Father, that the Church may welcome with joy the numerous inspirations of the Spirit of your Son and, docile to his teachings, may she care for vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life.
Sustain bishops, priests, consecrated men and women, and all the baptised in Christ, so that they may faithfully fulfil their mission at the service of the Gospel. This we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Please click on the link below to read more about the Novena for Vocations in the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore;
Parish Newsletter April 2021
To view the April 2021 Parish Newsletter please click on the link below:
Bishops announce plans for a National Synod within the next five years
At their Spring General Meeting, which concluded on Wednesday 10th March, the Irish Bishops ’Conference announced their decision to embark on a synodal pathway for the Catholic Church in Ireland leading to the holding of a National Synodal Assembly within the next five years.
The bishops said, “Since the 2018 Ordinary General Assembly of Bishops in Rome on the theme of young people, the faith and vocational discernment, we have been giving active consideration to calling a National Synodal Assembly for the Church in Ireland. Conversations at local, regional and national level have informed the work of a subgroup of the Episcopal Conference which was established to explore the idea further. During the 2020 Winter General Meeting of the Bishops’ Conference we decided to proceed along a synodal pathway, and, since then, we have been assisted and greatly encouraged by Cardinal Grech and Sr. Natalie Becquart, of the General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops, who addressed us on 3rd February last.
Please click on the link below to read more on the proposed National Synod: