Lack of vocations in Ireland is due to orders becoming “sterile” said the Pope during his private address to Jesuits during his visit to Ireland.
The text of Pope Francis’ meeting with Jesuits, a regular occurrence during papal trips, was published almost a month after his visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families.
Speaking to members of the order from across the country, he said: “This is something that worries me: vocations”, after he was told the Irish province has just three novices, two from Britain.
“What happens if people no longer become enthusiastic for our life? We have to look again at our life to be blessed with future generations. Or are we already sterile?” Francis said.
“When we discover our sterility, if we put ourselves in prayer with the desire to be fruitful, the Lord will give us fecundity. Have Faith.”
He added that “each one of us” should show tenderness to children and speak with grandchildren.
After there have been so many saints in society over the ages, he said, the question has to be posed: “What is happening?”
“With so many young people that there are…I suggest you pray,” he added.
Before his answer, the Jesuit Provincial, Fr Leonard Moloney, had asked the Pope to pray for vocations, and said: “As you can see, we are not so young – you are one of the youngest in this group!”