This Sunday is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, with the theme this year of "Vocations as a sign of hope founded in faith."
This is the 50th World Day of Prayer for Vocations and it also coincides with the Year of Faith, which is marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.
During the Council, Pope Paul VI instituted the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.
The message for this world day was published last October by Benedict XVI.
"Vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life are born out of the experience of a personal encounter with Christ, out of sincere and confident dialogue with him, so as to enter into his will," the message says. "It is necessary, therefore, to grow in the experience of faith, understood as a profound relationship with Jesus, as inner attentiveness to his voice which is heard deep within us. This process, which enables us to respond positively to God’s call, is possible in Christian communities where the faith is lived intensely, where generous witness is given of adherence to the Gospel, where there is a strong sense of mission which leads people to make the total gift of self for the Kingdom of God, nourished by recourse to the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and by a fervent life of prayer. This latter ‘must on the one hand be something very personal, an encounter between my intimate self and God, the living God. On the other hand it must be constantly guided and enlightened by the great prayers of the Church and of the saints, by liturgical prayer, in which the Lord teaches us again and again how to pray properly.’ (Spe Salvi, 34).”
In Ireland, a number of new initiatives are taking place for Vocations Sunday and resources have also been made available by the bishops’ Council for Vocations for the benefit of parishes.
Mass for Vocations Sunday will be broadcast from the RTÉ studios in Donnybrook, Dublin. The celebrant will be Auxiliary Bishop Donal McKeown of Down and Connor, chair of the Bishops’ Council for Vocations.
And a new video series provides a chance to meet priests from around Ireland, answering questions on their call to the priesthood and if they would recommend the life of a priest to others.
-- Bishop McKeown
-- Monsignor Jim Cassin, Diocese of Ossory and Executive Secretary to the Bishops’ Education Council
-- Father Rory Brady, Diocese of Raphoe
-- Father Willie Purcell, Diocese of Ossory
-- Father Iggy McCormack, Diocese of Killaloe
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On the Net:
To see the videos: www.catholicbishops.ie