By Cian Molloy - 11 May, 2019
“There can be no greater joy than to risk one’s life for the Lord!” says Pope Francis in his Vocations Sunday message, which he has particularly addressed to the young.
Tomorrow, the fourth Sunday of Easter, is traditionally set aside as a day of prayer for vocations to consecrated life. In his message for the celebration, the Pope says to young people: “Do not be deaf to the Lord’s call. If he calls you to follow this path, do not pull your oars into the boat, but trust him. Do not yield to fear, which paralyzes us before the great heights to which the Lord points us.”
And in a reference to the apostles Simon, Andrew, James and John, who gave up their living as fishermen to become apostles of Christ, the Pope said: “Always remember that to those who leave their nets and boat behind, and follow him, the Lord promises the joy of a new life that can fill our hearts and enliven our journey.”
The pontiff admits that it is not always easy to discern our vocation and to steer our life in the right direction and, for this reason, he calls on Church personnel – priests, religious, pastoral workers and educators – to provide young people in particular with opportunities for listening and discernment: “There is a need for a youth ministry and a vocational promotion that can open the way to discovering God’s plan, above all through prayer, meditation on God’s word, eucharistic adoration and spiritual accompaniment.”
In Ireland Bishop Donal McKeown of Derry will celebrate a Vocations Sunday Mass that will be broadcast on RTÉ One Television, on Radio 1 Long Wave and on DAB at 11 a.m.
This year’s theme for Vocations Sunday is ‘The courage to take a risk for God’s promise’.
Commenting ahead of tomorrow’s televised Mass, Fr Willie Purcell, National Coordinator for Diocesan Vocations, said, “Vocations Sunday is an opportunity for all of us to pray for those who are discerning God’s call in their lives by considering diocesan priesthood. During these times the call to both priesthood, and to religious life, is counter-cultural and poses challenges on many levels. It therefore takes great faith and courage to respond positively to this call and to say ‘yes’ to God’s invitation.
“However, as in the past, each member of the faithful has a role in supporting vocations. As Pope Francis has said, ‘vocations are born in prayer, and only in prayer can they persevere and bear fruit’.”
The patron saint of priests, St John Vianney, composed this prayer for vocations:
God, please give to your Church today
many more priests after your own heart.
May they be worthy representatives of Christ the Good Shepherd.
May they wholeheartedly devote themselves to prayer and penance;
be examples of humility and poverty;
shining models of holiness;
tireless and powerful preachers of the Word of God;
zealous dispensers of your grace in the sacraments.
May their loving devotion to your Son Jesus in the Eucharist
and to Mary his Mother be the twin fountains of fruitfulness for their ministry.