By Cian Molloy - 07 May, 2017
A new prayer initiative linked to the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima is being launched today, Vocations Sunday, in a bid to have more young men called to the priesthood.
The initiative is being linked to the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, with the faithful in Ireland being invited to pray the Angelus, or a decade of the Rosary, on Saturday 13 May and on the 13th day of every month from now until October.
The significance of 13 May is that it was on that date in 1917 that Our Lady first appeared to the Fatima visionaries, two of whom – Jacinta and Francisco Martes – will be canonised by Pope Francis next weekend.
The prayer initiative is being formally launched today to coincide with the broadcast of the annual Vocations Sunday Mass on RTÉ One television. The principal celebrant and homilist will be Ireland’s national coordinator for diocesan vocations, Fr Willie Purcell.
The endeavour is organised by the Bishops’ Council for Vocations in collaboration with St Joseph’s Young Priests Society and Vocations Ireland, which is an association of vocations directors belonging to Ireland’s religious orders. To help spread the word about the seven month long initiative on social media, it is suggested that participants and supporters might use the hashtag #Pray4Vocations.
“Praying for vocations is the most important aspect of vocation promotion and working together to create a culture of vocation is so important in our world today,” says Vocations Ireland director Margaret Cartwright. “Pope Francis has called for a fresh and courageous perspective when helping youth discern and discover their vocation, [and] prayer is key to that discernment process.”
Fr Purcell said: “We are extending this invitation to prayer to parishes, schools and families. Pope Francis said that ‘vocations are born in prayer and only in prayer can they persevere and bear fruit’.”
In his Vocations Sunday message, Pope Francis also said: “I ask parish communities, associations and the many prayer groups present in the Church not to yield to discouragement, but to continue praying that the Lord will send workers to his harvest.”