Sunday, September 28, 2014

A 'Culture of Vocation' is integral to the New Evangelisation - What are we in the Irish Church doing about Vocations to the Priesthood ?

Just 14 men entered the Seminary in Ireland this year.  57 men entered in Seminaries for Dioceses in England and Wales.  What does that say about our Church ?   In the UK Catholic Church, they have quite a number of initiatives to encourage Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious life.  Here in Ireland, there are very few.  I do believe the lack of Catechesis has played a major part in the lack of Vocations in Ireland as well as the lack of proper spiritual direction to help us develop an authentic and living faith in Christ for our daily lives.  But lets hope and pray for a change. 

The UK Catholic Church are very proactive about encouraging Vocations in most of their Dioceses.  They also use the Social media quite a lot as well as organise good Catholic Conferences and special Weekends for Vocations which are authentically Catholic.   

Just look at how many Seminarians we have this year for each Diocese;

           1 Ardagh & Clonmacnois
-          1 Armagh
-          1 Cloyne
-          4 Dublin
-          1 Kerry
-          3 Tuam
-          2 Down & Connor

So we have no Seminarians this year for 19 of our Dioceses.  I find that absolutely unbelievable that not one man from each of the other 19 Dioceses has come forward for the Priesthood.  That is a travesty and says volumes about our Church and its initiatives towards encouraging Vocations.  My own thoughts on why the situation is so bad I think, is that in Ireland we have had little or no Catechesis for so long, we have also suffered from the abuse crisis quite badly and also because of a lack of leadership and good spiritual direction.  People have wandered off into other forms of spirituality such as seeking out Visionaries and healers (which have inundated our country over the last twenty years especially with Medjugorje, Christina Gallagher, Anne the lay apostle and various healers, deliverance ministries etc), and new age which is also very prevalent even in our Catholic retreat centres and Parishes.  In the UK Church you would see very little of this type of spirituality on the scale you would come across it in Ireland. These are only my few thoughts on some of the reasons why but of course there are various other reasons. 

Also the emphasis being put on lay involvement in our Church has gone way too far and we have really too much laicisation of the clergy and clericalisation of the laity and it has to stop.  If we don't, we won't have a Church anymore because we won't have the Sacraments.  The Eucharist is the Source and Summit of our Faith, if we lose that, we lose everything.  

I would like to invite you to ask Our Lord Jesus to help us help Him with Vocations to the Priesthood alot more and to give us the wisdom to know how to start doing so more proactively in each of our Parishes and perhaps we can also look at how our neighbours across the water have done so.  Because there are unfortunately forces out there at work against Vocations here in Ireland and who are doing so very proactively as we have seen recently in the Diocese of Killaloe where the Diaconate was stopped from going ahead. If we block the work of Christ in His Vineyard, we will answer for it to Him alone and also for the loss of many souls.  Please pray for our Bishops and Priests and for the Bishops Conference which will take place next week.  May the Lord bless and help them to know the great responsibilities that they have before Him for the souls that He has placed under their care.

Please also let us try to spend fifteen minutes after Holy Mass and pray to Jesus Who we have received, for a deeper faith in His Presence in the Holy Eucharist and also for our Priests and Bishops and for the Church and for a greater respect for Christ in the Eucharist at Holy Mass and for His Presence in our Churches.   This is where Vocations begin, in adoration of the Eucharist, Our Beloved Lord Jesus Christ in His Body and Blood.  

Just a link below to yet another initiative from the UK Catholic Church on Vocations;

A ‘culture of vocation’ is integral to the new evangelisation.
Vocationcast is an online audio webcast and podcast inspired by the Holy Father’s encouragement to bring the witness of faith to the digital world. Each 30-minute episode is produced by a team of trained seminarians from the dioceses of England and Wales. They aim to inspire, empower and equip young people in their search for life in Christ.


You can also visit my other blog The Catholic Priesthood here:  The Catholic Priesthood Blog

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