36 men from dioceses across Ireland enrolled in this year’s weekend gathering on 18 and 19 November, in the national seminary of Saint Patrick's College, Maynooth, to help discern if God is calling them to the priesthood.
According to Father Willie Purcell, director of the National Vocations Office of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, “The weekend offers those discerning a vocation to the diocesan priesthood an opportunity - not only to meet with the formation team and college community to experience life in the seminary - but also to meet with likeminded young men who are on the path of discernment to the priesthood. Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, provides a safe and conducive environment for participants to ask questions of the formation team, while also enabling them to reflect on following the example of the life of Jesus. Those attending pray together and join the seminary community in the celebration of Mass, hear accounts of contemporary priestly ministry and meet with students who have begun formation towards priesthood.
“Bishops are currently hosting a Year for Vocation to the Diocesan Priesthood. In this regard, any man who is contemplating a vocation to the priesthood and wishes to further explore their calling, should make contact today with the National Vocations Office, on email@example.com, where they can obtain resources and contact details for their local vocations director. Our feedback indicates that seminarians, and newly ordained priests, are grateful for the witness, encouragement and accompaniment of another priest during their own discernment process.”
This is the third year that the national seminary, in collaboration with the Bishops’ Vocations Office, hosted this gathering. Our theme this year, ‘Come and See’, was drawn from the invitation of Jesus in John 1:39 - 41, when disciples ask Jesus where He was staying. and wanted to know Him and hoped for an opportunity to do just that. Rather than being too busy or important for these eager young men, Jesus invited them by saying, ‘Come and you will see.’
Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan is chair of the Bishops’ Council for Vocations and is leading the 2023 - 2024 Year for Vocation to the Diocesan Priesthood, on the theme: ‘Take the Risk for Christ’ (‘You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you’ John 15:16 ). The Year for Vocation involves organised prayer and awareness initiatives and will conclude on Good Shepherd Sunday, 21 April 2024. In a particular way during this dedicated year, prayers to encourage vocations to the priesthood are being prayed during daily and weekend Mass in dioceses and parishes across Ireland.