By editor - 18 April, 2016
Pope Francis celebrated the World Day of Prayer for Vocations by ordaining eleven men to the priesthood at St Peter’s Basilica on Sunday.
Nine came from Roman diocesan seminaries (Pontifical Roman Major Seminary, Almo Collegio Capranica, Redemptoris Mater Diocesan College, Seminary of Our Lady of Divine Love), and two from other colleges.
In his homily, the Pope implored the new priests, “in the name of that same Jesus Christ, the Lord, and in the name of the Church… to be merciful, so very merciful.”
The Pope also reminded the priests that they are chosen. “Chosen, don’t forget this. Chosen! And the Lord has called you, one by one.”
Later, following the Regina Coeli prayer in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis invited the faithful to pray for vocations to the priesthood and to consecrated life.
Once again he greeted the newly-ordained priests and their families and friends, and he invited all priests and seminarians to take part in their upcoming Jubilee during the first three days of June.
The Pope also called on young men and women to consider whether they are being called by the Lord to consecrate their lives “to His service, whether in the priesthood, or in the consecrated life.”
Meanwhile, a Mass for Vocations Sunday was simulcast at 11am on RTÉ One Television and RTÉ Radio 1 Extra / LW252 on Sunday morning from the RTÉ studios in Donnybrook, Dublin.
The celebrant and homilist was Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore and Chair of the Bishops’ Council for Vocations.
The Mass was coordinated by Fr Willie Purcell, National Coordinator for Diocesan Vocations with Musical Director, Sr Moira Bergin rsm and the Choir from the National Centre for Liturgy.
In his homily Bishop Cullinan said, “The Lord is calling. I believe that. I would not be here if I didn’t. The Lord’s voice is one of many voices vying for our attention. Do you sense that? That there are different voices, distractions, temptations, pulling us in different directions and which threaten to drown out the voice of the Lord who calls us closer to him.”
“How does he call us? How do we hear his voice? We hear him deep inside in our conscience, we can hear him in prayer, in scripture and in the teachings of his Church. In others. In the events which happen to us and around us.”
“And then the other voices – calling us to selfishness, to forget to do one’s duty, to neglect my family, to forget my sick neighbour and put my feet up and relax, to concentrate solely on myself, my personal well-being and fulfilment. How often is this voice the wolf who comes to destroy the sheep, as Jesus says, the voice calling us away from getting close to the Saviour, the shepherd?”
Bishop Cullinan also spoke about the many different types of vocational call, “We all have a calling, a vocation – married, single, religious or priest. As Cardinal Newman once wrote ‘God has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another’. No one is unimportant to God.”
Bishop Cullinan also prayed for more vocations to priesthood and religious life and asked the lay faithful and all listening/watching on television to do the same, “Please pray for more priests and religious so much needed in the Church, to give us the sacraments, to lead, to give us the Gospel, to point is to Christ, not only for now but all time.”
Bishop Cullinan concluded his homily by asking for the grace to listen to God’s voice. He said, “listening requires courage. Is this why we don’t really listen to God’s voice – because it means we have to change the change is difficult?”
The congregation for this morning’s Mass was made up of priests, religious and lay people, including representatives from Vocations Ireland, St Joseph’s Young Priests Society and the Knights of Saint Columbanus.
For more information on vocations to priesthood and religious life please see www.vocations.ie and www.vocationsireland.com