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On Thursday 23rd July last, Bishop Denis commissioned the first Ferns Diocesan Lay Vocations Council at St Aidan's Cathedral, Enniscorthy.

The Ferns Diocesan Lay Vocations Council is a group of lay people from most parishes of the diocese who encourage, promote and pray for vocations to the priesthood in their faith communities. They do so with the support of their local priest, the diocesan Vocations team and of course our bishop.

The idea and spirit behind the Lay Vocations Council is to empower the laity with a greater sense of responsibility to promote vocations and a culture of vocations within their own parishes. It involves them in the conversation of how vocations can be fostered and considered by the youth of the parish as a real possibility and invitation to a beautiful life. The lay members of the Council have a love for the priesthood, who value and cherish the essential role and ministry of priests for the future of the Irish Church.

Practical ways in which the Lay Vocations Council might promote their mission is through weekly times of adoration in parishes dedicated to prayer for Vocations; to organise a Vocations Novena; remember former and existing priests and religious who came from the parish and to celebrate their work; have the local priests and visiting priests to tell their vocations story; visits to the local schools including sowing the seeds of a possible vocation in the hearts of candidates for Confirmation.

Please pray for the success of this new initiative, that is bears fruit in time with many priestly and religious vocations.

During the ceremony of commissioning, this prayer was made for the Council:

‘God our Father, look kindly upon us gathered here in prayer this evening. Through these servants from the parishes of our diocese, bless all the communities and families who make up our diocesan family. Imbue with these servants a spirit of love for the priesthood and for all priests as they support them in their ministry. Give them the gifts of creativity and courage to imagine the future and yet always to nurture a culture of vocations in their faith communities.

May they work with the priests of our diocese to pray for, encourage and support vocations to the priesthood and religious life so that our Church may always be blessed with leaders with the heart and spirit of Christ the Good Shepherd.

For this we pray O Lord as we send your blessing upon them as they begin their work. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen’.

God our Father, bless our diocese of Ferns with many priestly and religious vocations. Give the men and women you call the light to understand your gift and the love to follow always in the footsteps of your Son. Who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

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