By Cian Molloy - 21 April, 2018
We are not victims of chance or swept up in a series of unconnected events. On the contrary, our life and our presence in this world is the fruit of a divine vocation, says Pope Francis.
Men of faith and generosity are needed to answer God’s call to sanctify his people, said Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan of Waterford and Lismore in advance of tomorrow’s celebration of Vocations Sunday.
Vocations Sunday, celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Easter, traditionally known as ‘Good Shepherd Sunday’, is a day when we, the faithful, all pray that we will understand God’s plan for us.
“We are not victims of chance or swept up in a series of unconnected events. On the contrary, our life and our presence in this world is the fruit of a divine vocation,” said Pope Francis in his special message for tomorrow.
Asserting that the mystery of the Incarnation shows that God constantly comes to encounter us, even in troubled times, the Pope said: “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.”
His Holiness believes that this year, 2018, is a particularly notable year for vocations because the Synod of Bishops, which meets in Rome in October, will be reflecting on “the relationship between young people, faith and vocation”.
Welcoming the Pope’s message, Bishop Cullinan, who is chair of the Council for Vocations of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said: “The Lord is still calling men to the ordained priesthood. What is needed are men of faith and generosity who will answer that call to sanctify God’s people, who in turn have the mission of sanctifying themselves and the world in which they live. Vocations Sunday, or Good Shepherd Sunday, is a day on which we pray for and encourage the faith and generosity needed to respond to God’s initiative.”
Fr Willie Purcell, the National Coordinator for Diocesan Vocations in Ireland, commented: “Vocations Sunday is an opportunity for us to renew our commitment to pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life and to encourage those who are discerning a vocation to say ‘Yes’ to God’s call.
“As we prepare to celebrate the World Meeting of Families in August, Vocations Sunday encourages parents to pray with their children for vocations, to talk to their children about vocations and to encourage their sons and daughters to consider vocations. Vocations Sunday is also a reminder to pray for priests and religious in our dioceses and to support them in their ministries by getting involved in parish activities and by words of encouragement.”
A Mass for Vocations Sunday will be televised on RTÉ One tomorrow at 11am. The chief celebrant will be Bishop Denis Brennan of Ferns and the celebration will include the choir of the National Centre for Liturgy, Maynooth.
A special online feature for Vocations Sunday is available on www.catholicbishops.ie.