29 April: World Day of Prayer for Vocations

24 Apr 2012

Church to celebrate World Day of Prayer for Vocations next Sunday 29 April on the theme ‘Vocations, the Gift of the Love of God’

  • “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” – Pope Benedict XVI
  • Catholic Communications Office video interview with Cardinal Timothy Dolan on vocations

Each year the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI issues a message for Vocations Sunday and the theme chosen by the Pope for this year’s celebration is: ‘Vocations, the Gift of the Love of God’.  In his 2012 message 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).”

A special web feature for Vocations Sunday is now available on the Irish bishops’ website (www.catholicbishops.ie).  It includes a video interview with Father Willie Purcell (Diocese of Ossory) 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 (www.iec2012.ie) which will be celebrated in Dublin in June.

The web feature includes the full text of the 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. The feature also includes links to some archive material including:

  • Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s interview with the Catholic Communications Office on priesthood and vocations.   This interview was conducted in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth in May 2010 as part of the Year for Priests initiative.  Cardinal Dolan was an archbishop at the time but he was created a cardinal by the Holy Father in the consistory of 18 February last.  Yesterday Pope Benedict appointed Cardinal Dolan a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation; to the Congregation for the Oriental Church; and as a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.  In this CCO interview Cardinal Dolan says that it when it comes to promoting vocations and priesthood that “happiness attracts.”
  • Pope Benedict’s Letter to Seminarians from October 2010.
  • In Praise of Priests which is a compilation of five short video testimonies – by George Hook, Alice Taylor, Ashleigh O’Neill, Mickey Harte and David Begg – who all share the valuable contribution that particular priests have made to their lives.
  • Documents on priesthood from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy.
  • Books on priesthood from Veritas
  • Links to relevant websites.

Speaking ahead of Vocations Sunday Father Purcell said: “People are searching for hope and a deeper meaning to life.   People are looking for direction in life and are beginning to realise that the overly commercialised world of the so-called ‘Celtic Tiger’ did not bring satisfaction or peace to their lives.  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.  The priest is there for his people twenty-four 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.”

Father Purcell continued, “Priests, seminarians and those considering priesthood need the support in prayer and affirmation from their people.  Those who are thinking of priesthood need to be encouraged in faith hope and love because they are needed in the world we live in as priests to bring that hope and encouragement in faith to those who are struggling with the difficulties of life.”


Notes for Editors

  • Pope Paul VI instituted the World Day of Prayer for Vocations on 11 April 1964. Since then successive pontiffs have called on the Church to focus and pray for vocations. Prayer and promotion of vocations takes place on a daily basis here in Ireland but in a particular way on Vocations Sunday which this year falls on Sunday next 29 April, the Fourth Sunday of Easter.
  • The Vocations Sunday feature can be accessed on www.catholicbishops.ie.

Media contact: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444 of the Catholic Communications Office