Ireland Presents Priesthood as Gift for This Sunday's Vocation Prayer Day

National Coordinator for Vocations: 'It Is Still a Good Time to Be a Priest'

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MAYNOOTH, Ireland, APRIL 25, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The Irish Bishops’ Conference has published its plans for Vocations Sunday, to be held this coming Sunday. The theme chosen by Pope Benedict XVI is: “Vocations, the Gift of the Love of God.” 

In his 2012 message for this Sunday, Pope Benedict says: “It is in this soil of self-offering and openness to the love of God, and as the fruit of that love, that all vocations are born and grow. By drawing from this wellspring through prayer, constant recourse to God’s word and to the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, it becomes possible to live a life of love for our neighbours, in whom we come to perceive the face of Christ the Lord (cf. Mt 25:31-46).”

The Web page available on the Irish bishops’ Web site includes a video interview with Father Willie Purcell who is the National Coordinator for Diocesan Vocations.  In the interview Father Purcell talks about vocations in Ireland, his own vocation as a gift and about the plans of the vocations directors for this year’s 50th International Eucharistic Congress, which will be celebrated in Dublin in June.

Speaking ahead of Vocations Sunday, Father Purcell said: “People are searching for hope and a deeper meaning to life.”

“People still look to the priest for strength in times of weakness, courage in times of despair and hope in times of desperation. People still believe in their priests, this belief is coming from the commitment and dedication they see on the ground in their parishes, schools, hospitals, universities and community life,” said Father Purcell.

“The priest is there for his people 24 hours a day. In the midst of all the difficulties that exist in the world, our country and our Church, it is still a good time to be a priest because God is reaching out to His people and the priest is the one who brings His compassion, forgiveness, understanding and unconditional love to His people through the ministry of priesthood.

The Web page also includes the full text of Pope Benedict XVI’s message for Vocations Sunday 2012, a prayer for vocations for use in parishes, links and contact information for vocations directors in Irish dioceses.

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On the Net:

Ireland’s Vocations Sunday Web page: http://www.catholicbishops.ie/2012/04/16/vocations-sunday-2012/