armaghpriest
by armaghpriest.com on July 6th, 2020

Prayer of the Faithful for Vocations
 to the Priesthood & Religious Life
July 2020

 
July 5th: Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
For an increase in labourers to the Lord of the Harvest in response to our prayers for vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and the consecrated life, and for the holiness of all those now serving the people of our diocese in these vocations…

July 12th: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
That all those now discerning their vocation will be attentive in prayer and active in their response to Jesus the Eternal Word who calls them…

July 19th: Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
That with dedicated spirits, we will beg the Lord of the Harvest to provide an abundance of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life in our diocese who will help gather the wheat of souls into His barn…

July 26th: Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
That the Holy Spirit will give inspiration and guidance to all those discerning their vocation in Christ…


by armaghpriest.com on June 8th, 2020

If the Lord is calling you to priesthood, then the Lord is calling you to a life of prayer!

The Liturgy of the Hours / Divine Office can help deepen and broaden your prayer life.

For a wonderful intro to the Liturgy of the Hours, check out this podcast from the guys at the Burrowshire Podcast. It could literally change your life!

by armaghpriest.com on June 5th, 2020

Prayer of the Faithful for Vocations
 to the Priesthood & Religious Life
June 2020



June 7th: The Most Holy Trinity
That those being called to share the mercy of God as priests, deacons, sisters and brothers will be faithful to the Spirit of Truth who has called them and guides them…Lord, hear us…

June 14th: The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
That all Catholics will adore the great gift of the Holy Eucharist given to them by Jesus Christ in the hands of His priests to nourish them with His body, and that the Holy Spirit will inspire many more to follow Him…Lord, hear us…

June 21st: Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
That Catholic parents will foster vocation awareness among their children, knowing that they will be helping to reveal the Heavenly Father’s love by their prayer, guidance and example…Lord, hear us…

June 28th: Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
That men and women being called to proclaim the kingdom of God as priests, deacons and in the consecrated life, will be given the strength to overcome every obstacle to their response through prayer and the practice of virtue…Lord, hear us…



by armaghpriest.com on June 3rd, 2020

Dear Brothers,

During this Easter season I had thought we could meet and celebrate the Chrism Mass together but, since a diocesan celebration was not possible, I am writing this letter to you. This new phase that we have embarked upon demands of us wisdom, farsightedness and shared commitment, so that all the efforts and sacrifices made thus far will not be in vain.

During this time of pandemic, many of you have shared with me by e-mail or telephone your experience of this unexpected and disconcerting situation. In this way, even though I was not able to leave home or encounter you directly, you let me know “first-hand” what you were going through. This in turn I have brought to my prayers, both of thanksgiving for your courageous and generous witness and of petition and trusting intercession before the Lord, who always takes us by the hand (cf. Mt 14:31). The need to maintain social distancing did not prevent us from strengthening our sense of fellowship, communion and mission; and this helped us ensure that charity, especially towards the most vulnerable individuals and communities, was not quarantined. In our frank conversations, I was able to see that necessary distancing was hardly synonymous with withdrawal or the self-absorption which anaesthetises, sedates and extinguishes our sense of mission.

Encouraged by these exchanges, I am writing to you because I want to keep close to you and accompany, support and confirm you along the way. Hope also depends on our efforts, and we have to help one another to keep it alive and active. I mean that contagious hope which is cultivated and reaffirmed in the encounter with others, and which, as a gift and a task, is given to us in order to create the new “normality” that we so greatly desire.

In writing to you, I think of the early apostolic community, which also experienced moments of confinement, isolation, fear and uncertainty. Fifty days passed amid immobility, isolation, yet the first proclamation would change their lives forever. For even as the doors of the place where they stayed were closed out of fear, the disciples were surprised by Jesus who “stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’. After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you’. And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (Jn 20:19-22). May we too let ourselves be surprised!

The doors of the house where the disciples met were locked for fear (Jn 20:19)

Today, as then, we sense that “the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted… are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts” (Gaudium et Spes, 1). How well we know this! We all listened to the numbers and percentages that daily bombarded us; with our own hands we touched the pain of our people. What we heard was not something alien to our own experience: the statistics had names, faces, stories of which we were a part. As a community of priests, we were no strangers to these situations; we did not look out at them from a window. Braving the tempest, you found ways to be present and accompany your communities; when you saw the wolf coming, you did not flee or abandon the flock (cf. Jn 10:12-13).

Suddenly we suffered the loss of family, neighbours, friends, parishioners, confessors, points of reference for our faith. We saw the saddened faces of those unable to be present and bid farewell to their loved ones in their final hours. We felt the suffering and powerlessness experienced by health care workers who, themselves exhausted, continued to work for days on end, out of a concern to meet so many needs. All of us felt the worry and fear experienced by those workers and volunteers who daily exposed themselves to risk in order to ensure that essential services were provided, and to accompany and care for the excluded and the vulnerable who were suffering even more from the effects of the pandemic. We witnessed the difficulties and discomforts of the lockdown: loneliness and isolation, especially among the elderly; anxiety, anguish and a sense of helplessness at the possibility of losing jobs and homes; violence and breakdown in relationships. The age-old fear of being infected once more reared its head. We shared the anguish and concern of entire families uncertain as to whether there would be food on the table in weeks to come.

We also experienced our own vulnerability and helplessness. Just as the kiln tests the potter’s vases, so were we put to the test (cf. Sir 27:5). Distraught, we felt all the more the precariousness of our own lives and our apostolic efforts. The unpredictability of the situation heightened the difficulty we feel in facing the unknown which we cannot control or direct and, like everyone else, we felt confused, fearful and defenceless. At the same time, we also experienced that healthy and necessary courage that refuses to yield in the face of injustice and reminds us that we were created for Life. Like Nicodemus, at night, confused by the fact that “the wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes”, we too wondered: “How can this be?” And Jesus tells us too: “Are you are a teacher of Israel, yet you do not understand these things?” (cf. Jn 3:8-10).

The complexity of the situation we had to face did not allow for textbook recipes or responses. It called for something much more than facile exhortations or edifying speeches incapable of touching hearts and confronting the concrete demands of life. The pain of our people was our pain, their uncertainties our own: our shared sense of frailty stripped us of any pseudo-spiritual complacency or any puritanical attempt to keep at a safe distance. No one can be unaffected by all that has happened. We can say that we experienced as a community the time when the Lord wept: for we too wept before the tomb of Lazarus his friend (cf. Jn 11:35), before the incomprehension of his people (Lk 13:14; 19:41), in the dark night of Gethsemane (cf. Mk 14:32-42; Lk 22:44). It is also the time when his disciples weep before the mystery of the cross and the evil which strikes so many innocent people. It is the bitter weeping of Peter after his denial (cf. Lk 22:62), and that of Mary Magdalene before the tomb (cf. Jn 20:11).

We know that, in situations like these, it is not easy to find the right way forward, and any number of voices will make themselves heard telling us about all that could have been done in the face of this unknown reality. Our usual ways of relating, planning, celebrating, praying, meeting and even dealing with conflict were changed and challenged by an invisible presence that turned our everyday existence upside down. Nor did it simply affect individuals, families, specific social groups or countries. The nature of the virus caused our former ways of dividing and classifying reality to disappear. The pandemic knows no descriptors, no boundaries, and none of us can think of getting by alone. We are all affected and involved.

The notion of a “safe” society, carefree and poised for infinite consumption has been called into question, revealing its lack of cultural and spiritual immunity to conflict. A series of old and new questions and problems (in many places long since considered resolved) came to dominate the horizon and our attention. Those questions will not be answered simply by resuming various activities. They necessarily challenge us to develop a capacity for listening in a way attentive yet filled with hope, serene yet tenacious, persevering yet not fearful. This can prepare and open up the path that the Lord is now calling us to take (cf. Mk 1:2-3). We know that in the wake of tribulation and painful experiences we are never again the same. So all of us need to be vigilant and attentive. The Lord himself, in the hour of his own suffering, prayed for exactly this: “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one” (Jn 17:15). Having experienced, as individuals and in our communities, our vulnerability, frailty and limitations, we now run the grave risk of withdrawing and “brooding” over the desolation caused by the pandemic, or else that of seeking refuge in a boundless optimism incapable of grasping the deeper meaning of what is happening all around us (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 226-228).

Times of tribulation challenge us to discern the temptations that threaten to mire us in bewilderment and confusion, in a mind-set that would prevent our communities from nurturing the new life that the Risen Lord wishes to give us. A variety of temptations can nowadays blind us and encourage sentiments and approaches that block hope from stimulating our creativity, our ingenuity and our ability to respond effectively. Rather than seeking to acknowledge frankly the gravity of the situation, we can attempt to respond merely with new and reassuring activities as we wait for everything to “return to normal”. But in this way we would ignore the deep wounds that have opened and the number of people who have fallen in the meantime. We can also sink into in a kind of numbing nostalgia for the recent past that leads us to keep repeating that “nothing will ever be the same again” and thus show ourselves incapable of inviting others to dream and to develop new paths and new styles of life.

Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you. When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you!” (Jn 20:19-21)

The Lord did not choose the perfect situation to appear suddenly in the midst of his disciples. Certainly we would have preferred that what happened did not have to happen, but it did; and like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we too can continue to speak sadly and in hushed tones along the way (cf. Lk 24:13-21). Yet by appearing in the Upper Room behind closed doors, amid the isolation, fear and insecurity experienced by the disciples, the Lord was able to surpass all expectations and to give a new meaning to history and human events. Any time is fitting for the message of peace; in no situation is God’s grace ever lacking. Jesus’ appearance in the midst of confinement and forced absence proclaims, for those disciples and for us today, a new day capable of challenging all paralysis and resignation, and harnessing every gift for the service of the community. By his presence, confinement became fruitful, giving life to the new apostolic community.

So let us say with confidence and without fear: “Where sin increased, grace has abounded all the more” (Rom 5:20). Let us be fearless amid the messy situations all around us, because that is where the Lord is, in our midst; God continues to perform his miracle of bringing forth good fruit (cf. Jn 15:5). Christian joy is born precisely of this certainty. In the midst of the contradictions and perplexities we must confront each day, the din of so many words and opinions, there is the quiet voice of the Risen Lord who keeps saying to us: “Peace be with you!”

It is comforting to read the Gospel and think of Jesus in the midst of his people, as he welcomes and embraces life and individuals just as they are. His actions embody Mary’s moving song of praise: “He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly” (Lk 1:51-52). Jesus offers his own hands and his wounded side as a path to resurrection. He does not hide or conceal those wounds; instead, he invites Thomas to touch his pierced side and to see how those very wounds can be the source of Life in abundance (cf. Jn 20:27-29).

Over and over again, as a spiritual guide, I have been able to witness how “a person who sees things as they truly are and sympathizes with pain and sorrow is capable of touching life’s depths and finding authentic happiness. He or she is consoled, not by the world but by Jesus. Such persons are unafraid to share in the suffering of others; they do not flee from painful situations. They discover the meaning of life by coming to the aid of those who suffer, understanding their anguish and bringing relief. They sense that the other is flesh of our flesh, and are not afraid to draw near, even to touch their wounds. They feel compassion for others in such a way that all distance vanishes. In this way, they can embrace Saint Paul’s exhortation: ‘Weep with those who weep’ (Rom 12:15). Knowing how to mourn with others: that is holiness” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 76).

“As the Father has sent me, so I send you” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them: “Receive the Holy Spirit” (Jn 20:21-22)

Dear brothers, as a community of priests, we are called to proclaim and prophesy the future, like the sentinel announcing the dawn that brings a new day (cf. Is 21:11). That new day will either be completely new, or something much worse than what we have been used to. The Resurrection is not simply an event of past history to be remembered and celebrated; it is much more. It is the saving proclamation of a new age that resounds and already bursts onto the scene: “Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Is 43:19); it is the future, the “ad-vent” that the Lord even now is calling us to build. Faith grants us a realistic and creative imagination, one capable of abandoning the mentality of repetition, substitution and maintenance. An imagination that calls us to bring about a time ever new: the time of the Lord. Though an invisible, silent, expansive and viral presence has thrown us into crisis and turmoil, may we let this other discreet, respectful and non-invasive Presence summon us anew and teach us to face reality without fear. If an impalpable presence has been able to disrupt and upset the priorities and apparently overpowering global agendas that suffocate and devastate our communities and our sister earth, let us not be afraid to let the presence of the Risen Lord point out our path, open new horizons and grant us the courage to live to the full this unique moment of our history. A handful of fearful men were able to change the course of history by courageously proclaiming the God who is with us. Do not be afraid! “The powerful witness of the saints is revealed in their lives, shaped by the Beatitudes and the criterion of the final judgement” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 109).

Let us be surprised yet again by the Risen Lord. May he, whose pierced side is a sign of how harsh and unjust reality can be, encourage us not to turn aside from the harsh and difficult realities experienced by our brothers and sisters. May he teach us how to accompany, soothe and bind up the wounds of our people, not with fear but with the audacity and evangelical generosity of the multiplication of the loaves (Mt 14:15-21); with the courage, concern and responsibility of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:33-35); with the joy of the shepherd at his newfound sheep (Lk 15:4-6); with the reconciling embrace of a father who knows the meaning of forgiveness (cf. Lk 15: 20); with the devotion, gentleness and tender love of Mary of Bethany (cf. Jn 12:1-3); with the meekness, patience and wisdom of the Lord’s missionary disciples (cf. Mt 10:16-23). May the wounded hands of the Risen Lord console us in our sorrows, revive our hope and impel us to seek the Kingdom of God by stepping out of our familiar surroundings . Let us also allow ourselves to be surprised by our good and faithful people, so often tried and torn, yet also visited by the Lord’s mercy. May our people teach us, their pastors, how to mould and temper our hearts with meekness and compassion, with the humility and magnanimity of a lively, supportive, patient and courageous perseverance, one that does not remain indifferent, but rejects and unmasks every form of scepticism and fatalism. How much we have to learn from the strength of God’s faithful people, who always find a way to help and accompany those who have fallen! The Resurrection is the proclamation that things can change. May the Paschal Mystery, which knows no bounds, lead us creatively to those places where hope and life are struggling, where suffering and pain are opening the door to corruption and speculation, where aggression and violence appear to be the only way out.

As priests, sons and members of a priestly people, it is up to us to take responsibility for the future and to plan for it as brothers. Let us place in the wounded hands of the Lord, as a holy offering, our own weakness, the weakness of our people and that of all humanity. It is the Lord who transforms us, who treats us like bread, taking our life into his hands, blessing us, breaking and sharing us, and giving us to his people. And in all humility, let us allow ourselves to be anointed by Paul’s words and let them spread like a fragrant balm throughout our City, thus awakening the seeds of hope that so many people quietly nurture in their hearts: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies” (2 Cor 4:8-10). Let us share with Jesus in his passion, our passion, and experience, also with him, the power of the Resurrection: the certainty of God’s love that affects us deeply and summons us to take to the streets in order to bring “glad tidings to the poor … to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord” (cf. Lk 4:18-19), with a joy that all can share in their dignity as children of the living God.

All these things, which I have been thinking about and experiencing during this time of pandemic, I want to share fraternally with you, so that they can help us on our journey of praising the Lord and serving our brothers and sisters. I hope that they can prove useful to each of us, for “ever greater love and service”.

May the Lord Jesus bless you and the Blessed Virgin watch over you. And please, do not forget to keep me in your prayers.

Fraternally,
 

FRANCIS
 

Rome, Saint John Lateran, 31 May 2020, the Solemnity of Pentecost.

by armaghpriest.com on May 6th, 2020

n the latest of our seminarian interviews, Bartek talks about how he kept the call to priesthood very quiet initially!

by armaghpriest.com on May 3rd, 2020


by armaghpriest.com on May 3rd, 2020

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS FOR THE 2020 WORLD DAY OF VOCATIONS


Words of Vocation

 
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On 4 August last year, the 160th anniversary of the death of the Curé of Ars, I chose to write a letter to all those priests who daily devote their lives to the service of God’s people in response to the Lord’s call.

On that occasion, I chose four key words – pain, gratitude, encouragement and praise – as a way of thanking priests and supporting their ministry. I believe that today, on this 57th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, those words can be addressed to the whole people of God, against the backdrop of the Gospel passage that recounts for us the remarkable experience of Jesus and Peter during a stormy night on the Sea of Galilee (cf. Mt 14:22-33).

After the multiplication of the loaves, which had astonished the crowds, Jesus told his disciples to get into the boat and precede him to the other shore, while he took leave of the people. The image of the disciples crossing the lake can evoke our own life’s journey. Indeed, the boat of our lives slowly advances, restlessly looking for a safe haven and prepared to face the perils and promises of the sea, yet at the same time trusting that the helmsman will ultimately keep us on the right course. At times, though, the boat can drift off course, misled by mirages, not the lighthouse that leads it home, and be tossed by the tempests of difficulty, doubt and fear.

Something similar takes place in the hearts of those who, called to follow the Teacher of Nazareth, have to undertake a crossing and abandon their own security to become the Lord’s disciples. The risk involved is real: the night falls, the headwinds howl, the boat is tossed by the waves, and fear of failure, of not being up to the call, can threaten to overwhelm them.

The Gospel, however, tells us that in the midst of this challenging journey we are not alone. Like the first ray of dawn in the heart of the night, the Lord comes walking on the troubled waters to join the disciples; he invites Peter to come to him on the waves, saves him when he sees him sinking and, once in the boat, makes the winds die down.

The first word of vocation, then, is gratitude. Taking the right course is not something we do on our own, nor does it depend solely on the road we choose to travel. How we find fulfilment in life is more than a decision we make as isolated individuals; above all else, it is a response to a call from on high. The Lord points out our destination on the opposite shore and he grants us the courage to board the boat. In calling us, he becomes our helmsman; he accompanies and guides us; he prevents us from running aground on the shoals of indecision and even enables us to walk on surging waters.

Every vocation is born of that gaze of love with which the Lord came to meet us, perhaps even at a time when our boat was being battered by the storm. “Vocation, more than our own choice, is a response to the Lord’s unmerited call” (Letter to Priests, 4 August 2019). We will succeed in discovering and embracing our vocation once we open our hearts in gratitude and perceive the passage of God in our lives.

When the disciples see Jesus walking towards them on the sea, they first think that he is a ghost and are filled with fear. Jesus immediately reassures them with words that should constantly accompany our lives and our vocational journey: “Take heart, it is I; have no fear” (Mt 14:27). This, then, is the second word I wish to offer you: encouragement.

What frequently hinders our journey, our growth, our choosing the road the Lord is marking out for us, are certain “ghosts” that trouble our hearts. When we are called to leave safe shores and embrace a state of life – like marriage, ministerial priesthood, consecrated life – our first reaction is often from the “ghost of disbelief”. Surely, this vocation is not for me! Can this really be the right path? Is the Lord really asking me to do this?

Those thoughts can keep growing – justifications and calculations that sap our determination and leave us hesitant and powerless on the shore where we started. We think we might be wrong, not up to the challenge, or simply glimpsing a ghost to be exorcized.

The Lord knows that a fundamental life choice – like marriage or special consecration to his service – calls for courage. He knows the questions, doubts and difficulties that toss the boat of our heart, and so he reassures us: “Take heart, it is I; have no fear!” We know in faith that he is present and comes to meet us, that he is ever at our side even amid stormy seas. This knowledge sets us free from that lethargy which I have called “sweet sorrow” (Letter to Priests, 4 August 2019), the interior discouragement that hold us back from experiencing the beauty of our vocation.

In the Letter to Priests, I also spoke about pain, but here I would like to translate the word differently, as fatigue. Every vocation brings with it a responsibility. The Lord calls us because he wants to enable us, like Peter, to “walk on water”, in other words, to take charge of our lives and place them at the service of the Gospel, in the concrete and everyday ways that he shows us, and specifically in the different forms of lay, priestly and consecrated vocation. Yet, like Saint Peter, our desire and enthusiasm coexist with our failings and fears.

If we let ourselves be daunted by the responsibilities that await us – whether in married life or priestly ministry – or by the hardships in store for us, then we will soon turn away from the gaze of Jesus and, like Peter, we will begin to sink. On the other hand, despite our frailty and poverty, faith enables us to walk towards the Risen Lord and to weather every storm. Whenever fatigue or fear make us start to sink, Jesus holds out his hand to us. He gives us the enthusiasm we need to live our vocation with joy and fervour.

When Jesus at last boards the boat, the winds die down and the waves are calmed. Here we have a beautiful image of what the Lord can do at times of turbulence and tempest in our lives. He stills those winds, so that the forces of evil, fear and resignation no longer have power over us.

As we live out our specific vocation, those headwinds can wear us down. Here I think of all those who have important responsibilities in civil society, spouses whom I like to refer to – not without reason – as “courageous”, and in a particular way those who have embraced the consecrated life or the priesthood. I am conscious of your hard work, the sense of isolation that can at times weigh upon your hearts, the risk of falling into a rut that can gradually make the ardent flame of our vocation die down, the burden of the uncertainty and insecurity of the times, and worry about the future. Take heart, do not be afraid! Jesus is at our side, and if we acknowledge him as the one Lord of our lives, he will stretch out his hand, take hold of us and save us.

Even amid the storm-tossed waters, then, our lives become open to praise. This is the last of our vocation words, and it is an invitation to cultivate the interior disposition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Grateful that Lord gazed upon her, faithful amid fear and turmoil, she courageously embraced her vocation and made of her life an eternal song of praise to the Lord.

Dear friends, on this day in particular, but also in the ordinary pastoral life of our communities, I ask the Church to continue to promote vocations. May she touch the hearts of the faithful and enable each of them to discover with gratitude God’s call in their lives, to find courage to say “yes” to God, to overcome all weariness through faith in Christ, and to make of their lives a song of praise for God, for their brothers and sisters, and for the whole world. May the Virgin Mary accompany us and intercede for us.


Franciscus

by armaghpriest.com on May 3rd, 2020

On this World Day of Prayer for Vocations, 3 of our diocesan priests speak about what priesthood means to them.

by armaghpriest.com on May 2nd, 2020

Prayer of the Faithful for Vocations
to the Priesthood & Religious Life
May 2020



May 3rd: Fourth Sunday of Easter
(Day of Prayer for Vocations)

That like the man born blind, we will allow Jesus to open our eyes and hearts to His will and to inspire more men and women to respond to His call to serve Him and His Church as priests, deacons and in the consecrated life…Lord, hear us…


May 10th: Fifth Sunday of Easter
That all Catholic parents will draw close to Mary and nurture openness to the Holy Spirit in the Lord’s call to their children, especially should He honour them with vocations to the priesthood or consecrated life…Lord, hear us…

May 17th: Sixth Sunday of Easter
That the Holy Spirit will guide and comfort men and women discerning their vocations…Lord, hear us…

May 24th: The Ascension of the Lord
That Christ, from his seat in heaven, will bless and guide all those being called to serve Him as priests, deacons, sisters and brothers…Lord, hear us…

May 31st: Pentecost Sunday
That those now discerning their vocations will be guided by the Holy Spirit to respond to the Lord’s call with generous hearts…Lord, hear us…




by armaghpriest.com on May 2nd, 2020

Our own Bishop Michael Router speaks about the unique call of the Lord for each of us.

by armaghpriest.com on March 10th, 2020

This Novena, from St. Joseph's Young Priests' Society, can be undertaken at any time of the year and especially beginning or ending on March 19th (Feast of St. Joseph) or May 1st (Feast of St. Joseph the Worker).

by armaghpriest.com on March 6th, 2020

At a recent Priests Conference, Archbishop Eamon Martin launched a Brochure on Priesthood in the Archdiocese of Armagh. The Brochure which was created by members of the Diocesan Vocations Commission features three priests of the diocese and it’s a resource to promote the Vocation to Priesthood. Present for the Launch and the Conference were Fr Willie Purcell, National Director of Vocations and Deacon Eric Cooney, Director of the National Vocations Office, Maynooth.

by armaghpriest.com on March 6th, 2020


by armaghpriest.com on March 2nd, 2020

Prayer of the Faithful to Promote the Call to Priesthood

March 2020 (Year A)

1st March: First Sunday of Lent
That prayer, penance and almsgiving will dispose more men and women to follow the Holy Spirit as He leads them to discover their vocations in Christ…

8th March: Second Sunday of Lent
For all our priests, who bring us to the mountain of Christ at every Mass and feed us with His transforming love in the sacraments…

15th March: Third Sunday of Lent
For all those thirsting to know their vocations in Christ, that they will be open to the waters of prayer and drink fully of the Holy Spirit who leads them…

17th March: St. Patrick, Bishop, Principal Patron of Ireland

That, through the intercession of Saint Patrick, those discerning the call to priesthood in our archdiocese may experience the guiding and wise presence of Christ with them on their journey…

22nd March: Fourth Sunday of Lent
That like the man born blind, we will allow Jesus to open our eyes and hearts to His will and to inspire more men and women to respond to His call to serve Him and His Church as priests, deacons and in the consecrated life…

29th March: Fifth Sunday of Lent
That priests, deacons, sisters and brothers who, for the sake of Christ, have suffered the loss of all things, will be strengthened in their vocations to bring many souls to the knowledge of salvation…


by armaghpriest.com on February 28th, 2020

A “Come and See Weekend” will take place on Saturday 16 th and Sunday 17 th May 2020 in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth for those who are thinking about Diocesan Priesthood. 

It will be an opportunity for men (18 years and older) to come together, to reflect more on the call to Diocesan Priesthood. 

Those who join for the weekend will have an opportunity to meet with other Seminarians and Priests and ask questions and there will be some time for worship and prayer. 

There will be no cost for the weekend and accommodation and meals will be provided. For further information about the weekend you can email info@vocations.ie or you can contact your local Diocesan Vocations Director at pmcanenly21@gmail.com or call Fr Peter at 028 37522802


by armaghpriest.com on January 18th, 2020

Prayer of the Faithful
to Promote the Call to Priesthood
January 2020 (Year A)

5th January: Second Sunday of Christmas
That all those discerning the call to follow the Lord as priests, deacons or in the consecrated life may know that they have been chosen in Christ for His own kind purposes…

6th January: The Epiphany of the Lord
That all those called to share the promise of the Gospel of Christ Jesus through their vocations as priests, deacons, sisters and brothers, will do so with humble confidence in the commission of God’s grace which has been given to them…

12th January: The Baptism of the Lord
That, like John the Baptist, all those called by the Lord to serve His Church will accept His invitation…

19th January: Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lord, we know that You call us to our vocation from the moment of our baptism. Help young men and women answer this call most faithfully…

26th January: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
For all men and women called by Jesus to teach the Gospel as priests, deacons, sisters and brothers, that the joy of the Lord will remain their strength during their discernment, formation and mission…



by armaghpriest.com on January 9th, 2020


What is it like being a priest these days?

It is sometimes sitting in a folding chair listening to your school kids singing Christmas songs.
It is sometimes standing by the bedside of person drawing their last breath in this life.
It is sometimes being amazed that you are holding the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ at Mass.
It is sometimes feeling totally unworthy to do so.



It is sometimes being in the pulpit wondering if anyone is listening.
It is sometimes being in the pulpit being very aware that people are listening.
It is sometimes being the strong one in a room full of grieving people.
It is sometimes resting your head on your steering wheel trying to collect yourself after such moments.

It is sometimes the joy of a baptism.
It is sometimes the sorrow of a funeral.
It is sometimes eating a great meal at a parishioner’s house.
It is sometimes getting to the end of the day trying to remember if you’ve eaten anything today.

It is sometimes the joy of helping the prodigal son come home.
It is sometimes the sorrow of watching a defiant prodigal son leave.
It is sometimes the hours of prayer which keep you afloat.
It is sometimes the pain of scandal which drags you down.

It is sometimes getting up and knowing you are stepping on to a battlefield.
It is sometimes moments of incredible grace.
It is sometimes moments walking in the valley of death.

It is sometimes being respected.
It is sometimes being scorned.
It is sometimes speaking words of comfort.
It is sometimes speaking unwelcome words calling people to conversion.

It is sometimes being praised for your service.
It is sometimes being called every name in the book for telling the truth.
Lived correctly, it is always about being a servant in Persona Christi.

It is difficult but rewarding.
It is a constant call to give witness.
It is willingly being the poster child for being countercultural.
It is about dying to self intentionally every day.
It is about making God’s grace available as much as possible.

It is not for the thin-skinned or faint of heart.
It is not for the worldly and ambitious.

It is not a job or career.
It is a way of life.

I would have it no other way.

Fr. Bill Peckman


Sourced from: https://churchpop.com/2019/11/03/why-its-totally-worth-it-a-catholic-priests-moving-testimony-about-living-his-vocation/


by armaghpriest.com on November 11th, 2019

From America: The Jesuit Review (link below)

Father George Elliott is a priest of the Diocese of Tyler, Tex., and president of a Catholic multimedia ministry called CAST. He is author of the recent book “Discernment Do’s and Don’ts: A Practical Guide to Vocational Discernment.” American Catholics celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week on Nov. 3-9 this year. On July 31, the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, I interviewed Father Elliott by telephone about discernment. The following transcript of our conversation has been edited for style and length.

How do you understand discernment?

Discernment is fundamentally about understanding the will of God for a particular person in a particular time and situation.

What are some of the “discernment do’s” you write about?

First, just being yourself. Oftentimes people trying to discern a vocation will pretend to be someone else, whether [while] dating someone or attending a discernment retreat. It’s God’s call for you, so be yourself.

Second, focus on your desire for holiness. If you’re not going for that end goal, the path by which you go will usually not be sound. Third, develop a life of prayer for its own sake, not just to get answers. Sometimes people pray to know the answer to discernment without developing a relationship with God for its own sake.

What are some of the “discernment don’ts” you write about?

Don’t choose a vocation to make someone else happy. Sometimes young people are more concerned about what parents, friends or relatives think. Doing the will of God is what makes a person happy, not doing what others want.

Also, don’t think God has to answer your prayers and tell you your vocation within the time limit you set. God works on his own time and his timing is wiser than ours. Discernment unfolds at God’s pace.


There are many Catholic works on discernment out there, but the subtitle of your recent book promises a “practical guide.” What’s practical about your approach to discernment?

Specifically that I offer actionable items. I often find good guides on the theory or theology of discernment; however, the real actionable items understandable to a young person discerning a vocation are few and far between.

What kinds of actionable items do you offer?

Concrete examples of how to strive for holiness, how to practice prayer in your life, how to get to know role models in different religious and married vocations, and concrete things we can look to as signs to take the next step.

Can you give an example?

One real experience I talk about involves a friend who did a lot in campus ministry when we were in college. He was talking about discerning his vocation, but he hadn’t been attending Sunday Mass. Attending Sunday Mass is a prerequisite for discerning your vocation really well.

What’s one story that illustrates for you a good discernment?

I had a friend discerning religious life but taking a long time to do it, and she was close to a particular religious order that everyone knew made sense for her. She knew them, she worked for them, but she just refused to move forward with the discernment. In sitting with her and challenging her, she revealed to me that the only reason she didn’t want to be a sister with them was that “the habits are ugly.” So she entered, realized she wasn’t really called to it, and then left and got married shortly after. Talking through her reasons helped move things along.

What’s one story that illustrates for you a bad discernment?

I have another friend in his 50s who has gone on every discernment you can imagine, gone on one or two dates with all sorts of different girls and is living a perpetual bachelor life. He’s developed a prayer life and everything else; he’s just paralyzed from acting by his fear of commitment.

What helps overcome procrastination in discernment?

In the book, I talk about tools to use to achieve “sufficient certainty” for taking the next step. Many young people want to be absolutely certain before committing to something, even something as simple as a date or entering a seminary, because they think the first step means forever. But the first step is just the first step in the testing period; it’s not a commitment to anything beyond that.

Who are your role models, either living or dead, for discernment?

Certainly, St. Ignatius of Loyola is one. I studied patristics and I also like a lot of the advice given by the Desert Fathers. Then there’s St. John Cassian, St. Jerome and St. Augustine.

How do you pray in your own life when you want to discern a big or small choice?

The first thing I do is search for peace in understanding what’s going on. I talk in the book about aligning one’s heart with the will of God—something that comes from Ignatius—and continually asking for the desire to love more as he recommends. If there’s peace there about a given decision, it’s a good sign. If not, some more questions need to be asked. I want to purify my motives.

People often look to Jesuits for discernment help, and the Jesuit bishop Álvaro Corrada del Río led your diocese from 2000 to 2011 before being transferred to Puerto Rico. What did you learn about discernment from Bishop Corrada del Río?

He accepted me as a seminarian, so I have great affection for him. One thing I learned from him is that God is completely free…. Therefore, we need to allow God to be free and follow his desires for us wherever they go. We can’t put God in a box.

Another lesson he taught me is that the process of discernment is never wasted time. If we spend seven years in the seminary and discern out of it at the end, that’s perfectly fine: Now the church has a well-formed man even if he’s not a priest.


What have you learned about discernment from your own life and ministry?


One is that God will sometimes lead us down certain paths, not just to get us into a certain vocation but to learn something about ourselves or about a particular charism he has in store for us. Another is that, in my ministry, I’ve realized a lot of people think discernment is more complicated than it is. It’s not something to be afraid of. Thirdly, we cannot discern well if we walk into the conversation with a priori ideas or dispositions about what we want for a person’s life.

Any final thoughts?

The idea of this book is to answer this question of young people: “I’m interested in discerning my vocation. Where do I start?” It’s step one in that process. As a pastor, I have dozens of kids asking me this question each year, so I wrote this book to answer it in one place.

(Source: https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2019/11/04/practical-guide-discernment-hint-just-be-yourself)

by armaghpriest.com on October 7th, 2019

Prayer of the Faithful to Promote the Call to Priesthood

October 2019 (Year C)

6th October: Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
That by the power of the Holy Spirit, every Catholic called to the priesthood and consecrated life will guard the treasure of their unique vocation in Christ and fan it into a flame of their love for Him…
 
13th October: Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
For an increase in gratitude among God’s people for the mercy shown them through the holy vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life in their midst, and that more men and women will faithfully respond to His call…

20th October: Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
For perseverance in sincere prayer on the part of the faithful, asking the Lord of the Harvest for holy vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life…
 
27th October: Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
That all men and women chosen to fight the good fight of proclaiming faith in Jesus Christ as priests, deacons, religious sisters and brothers, will find encouragement in our prayers and support…
 
1st November: Solemnity of All Saints
That, through the intercession of all the saints, the Lord will grant holy men and women of our community vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life…

by armaghpriest.com on October 7th, 2019

Cardinal Robert Sarah reflected on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the meaning of the priesthood in a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica Saturday marking his 50th ordination anniversary.

“The priest lives joy in its fullness at Holy Mass, which is the raison d'être of his existence, what gives meaning to his life,” Sarah said in his homily at the Altar of the Chair Sept. 29.

“During the daily Mass the priest comes face to face with Jesus Christ and at that precise moment, he is identified, he identified himself with Christ, becoming not only an Alter Christus, another Christ, but he is really Ipse Christus, the same Christ,” he said.

The Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments said the inner life of a priest should center around three things: the cross, the Eucharist, and the Virgin Mary.

“According to St. Josemaría Escrivà, the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is the vital spring of the priest, the pillar on which his priestly existence is built,” he said.

Sarah explained that the cross makes possible “the birth of divine life within us” and that the Virgin Mary watches over one’s spiritual development as a mother, who “educates us to grow in faith.”

“Without the Eucharist we cannot live,” he said. “Jesus reveals to us the secret of this heavenly food, that it is His very flesh that becomes nourishment to enable us to live from His own life, in the unheard-of intimacy of friendship with him.”

Sarah said that the priesthood is going through "a deep crisis” today, and asked for prayers for all priests.

“The priest -- here is the most magnificent work, the most generous gift that God has given to humanity, the most precious and unprecedented treasure that exists on earth; the Curé of Ars, St. John Mary Vianney was deeply convinced of this,” he said.

“In this Eucharist we entrust the Church and all priests to the maternal goodness of the Virgin Mary, our Mother and Mother of the Church,” he prayed.

Born in French Guinea in 1945, Sarah was ordained a priest on July 20, 1969 and made a bishop at the age of 34. The Mass at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica was celebrated in honor of two anniversaries for the cardinal this year -- 50 years as a priest and 40 years as a bishop.

“The heart of this celebration is Jesus Christ, the High Heavenly Priest: ‘holy, innocent, without blemish, separated from sinners and raised above the heavens,’” Sarah said.

“God amazes with his choices, He is wonderful and surprising in his generosity and in his love for each of us … Listen to how much he repeats to each of us today: ‘Before forming you in the womb, I knew you, before you came out into the light, I consecrated you; I have made you a prophet of the nations,” he said.

“This is what the Lord was for me: I was born in a humble and poor environment like that of Nazareth and in an animist and pagan culture, and He made me a Christian, a priest and a bishop,” the cardinal said. “Through baptism and priestly ordination He transformed me from nothing into his humble servant, into his beloved son.”



(Source of text & image: https://angelusnews.com/faith/cardinal-sarah-reflects-on-the-meaning-of-the-priesthood/)





Categories
no categories