The witness of good priests is the best form of vocational promotion, Bishop Phonsie Cullinan has said.
Writing for The Irish Catholic, the Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, who chairs the Irish Bishops’ Vocations Council, said that while more direct forms of vocational promotion are important, nothing rivals encountering committed clergy living their vocations in a joyful and dedicated way.
“The witness of good priests is the best vocations promotion – while it is good to see vocations promotion on social media and in promotional literature, the most authentic vocations’ promotion is the experience of a joyful committed priest,” he writes.
Dr Cullinan’s comments come following a workshop on vocations to the diocesan priesthood that took place at the Youth 2000 Summer Retreat in Clongowes Wood College, Clane, Co. Kildare earlier this month.
The meeting, attended by 39 young people and chaired by Ger Hanley of Dublin’s Emmaus Retreat Centre, addressed what it means to be a priest in Ireland today, and involved the circulation of a questionnaire asking how the Church can encourage men called to priesthood to respond generously.
“This coming together of young people to reflect on vocations to the diocesan priesthood proves that young people are open to the call of God and despite what the media says about them and what many people may think, they have faith and appreciate the priests of their parishes, schools, ecclesial movements and universities,” Dr Cullinan said, adding that the members of the Vocations Council who attended the event were “hugely encouraged” by the quality of those who attended that meeting.
“The Lord is still calling young men to the priesthood and there are generous young men who are responding,” he continued. “What they need is the correct environment in which to explore their call and to be encouraged by priests with a heart inspired by Christ.”
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