Priests do not grow under cabbages in bishops’ gardens

Dear Editor, In the Catholic Church we have an ongoing discussion about the crisis in vocations in the ministerial priesthood in Ireland in terms of staffing numbers and the challenges it poses. It perplexes me to see reactions from around the country when parishes get upset when their bishop announces he no longer has a priest to send to minister. It seems to still be a shock despite the fact we have had this vocations crisis discussion for over 20 years. 

It upsets but it also challenges the hell out of any parish as it forces the parish to go back to basics and re-examine what it means to be parish, something which we have been experiencing in Limerick for many years. 

But instead of always throwing the petition and letters of complaint at the bishop, how about looking at it the other way? 

For each parish who now complains because they don’t have a priest because “the bishop won’t give them one”, when was the last time that parish gave a seminarian to the diocese? Do we as Catholics think priests grow under cabbages in the bishop’s back garden? Where do we honestly think these men – whose ministry we all generally agree we respect and need at a grassroots level – where do we think they come from? 

They are always some other mother’s son – but not our son, our brother or our nephew.

Yours etc.,

Shane Ambrose,


Co. Limerick.