Irish Diocese Promotes Vocations on Facebook

Encourages Enthusiasm About Priesthood

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WEXFORD, Ireland, MARCH 21, 2009 ( The Diocese of Ferns is launching a new vocations promotion program, taking the campaign to the Facebook Internet site to raise awareness of the need for priests.

In a press conference last week, Bishop Denis Brennan said that this plan reflects the diocese’s work in the «real world.»

He said: «God knows whose lives it will touch. A vocation is a mysterious thing.

«It’s an affair of the heart. It is hard to understand, as it is partly a calling and it’s partly a response.»

A team of promoters, including Father Joseph McGrath, who works in vocational direction in a school, spoke about the plan.

Father McGrath said that Facebook users who live in the diocese will be contacted with vocational information. At the same time, priests will visit schools to explain their mission and vocation.

Vocations year

This program is part of the Irish Church’s year for vocations promoted by the bishops’ conference, which began last April 13 and will end May 3. The Irish seminary, St. Patrick’s, has announced a special open day for all those discerning a priestly vocation, to visit the institution on May 3, vocations Sunday.

Father McGrath noted that the Ferns campaign is part of a strategy to build the priesthood for the future. «We are starting now because we don’t want this to be a sprint, we want a marathon; we are going to continue this for years to come,» he explained.

The vocations team reported that the number of priests ordained in the past years has been declining, and that the current diocesan pastors are getting close to retirement age, alerting them to the need of new vocations.

Father McGrath encouraged his fellow priests to be positive and enthusiastic about their vocation, noting that this is the most important resource in the campaign.

Bishop Brennan described a vocation as a «mysterious thing» and «an affair of the heart.»

«It is hard to understand, as it is partly a calling and it’s partly a response,» he observed.

He said the diocese has to work in the «real world» but was inviting young people to join it.

Priests, Brennan noted, were an integral part of their communities and are «very badly missed when they move on».

He does not expect increased recruitment to the priesthood because of the recession and there was a strict entry process which included psychological assessment and an interview with the bishop, because he wanted «to get people coming who are suitable,» he said.

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