50th World Day of Prayer for Vocations on Sunday 21 April 2013

15 Apr 2013

“…to respond positively to God’s call is possible in Christian communities where the faith is lived intensely” – Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

The World Day of Prayer for Vocations or Vocations Sunday will be celebrated on Sunday 21 April 2013. The theme chosen for 2013 is: “Vocations as a sign of hope founded in faith”.

This is the 50th World Day of Prayer for Vocations and it also coincides with the Year of Faith, which is marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. While the Council was sitting, Pope Paul VI instituted the World Day of Prayer for Vocations which is a worldwide day of prayer to God, asking him to continue to send workers for his Church (cf. Mt 9:38)

When he published the message for Vocations Sunday 2013 in October last year, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said “Vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life are born out of the experience of a personal encounter with Christ, out of sincere and confident dialogue with him, so as to enter into his will. It is necessary, therefore, to grow in the experience of faith, understood as a profound relationship with Jesus, as inner attentiveness to his voice which is heard deep within us. This process, which enables us to respond positively to God’s call, is possible in Christian communities where the faith is lived intensely, where generous witness is given of adherence to the Gospel, where there is a strong sense of mission which leads people to make the total gift of self for the Kingdom of God, nourished by recourse to the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and by a fervent life of prayer. This latter ‘must on the one hand be something very personal, an encounter between my intimate self and God, the living God. On the other hand it must be constantly guided and enlightened by the great prayers of the Church and of the saints, by liturgical prayer, in which the Lord teaches us again and again how to pray properly.’ (Spe Salvi, 34).”

The full text of this year’s message for Vocations Sunday is available here.

  • Vocations Sunday in Ireland

A number of new initiatives are taking place for Vocations Sunday in Ireland and resources have also been made available by the Bishops’ Council for Vocations for the benefit of parishes:

Mass for Vocations Sunday 2013 on RTÉ 1 Television

Mass for Vocations Sunday will be broadcast from the RTÉ studios in Donnybrook, Dublin. The celebrant will be Bishop Donal McKeown, Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor and Chair of the Bishops’ Council for Vocations. The choir will be from Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth directed by Dr John O’Keeffe. Scripture readings and prayers of the faithful will be read by those working in the area of vocations in Ireland.

Vocation Voices Video Series

Vocation Voices is a new video series from the Bishops’ Council for Vocations to promote vocations to the priesthood. The videos include priests from around the country reflection on their own personal vocation story and their priestly ministry. The videos will be available to view over the coming weeks on www.catholicbishops.ie.

All the interviewees responded to two questions:

  1. When did you realise you had a vocation and how did you respond?
  2. Would you recommend the life of a priest to others?

The interviewees are:

–          Bishop Donal McKeown, Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor

–          Monsignor Jim Cassin, Diocese of Ossory and Executive Secretary to the Bishops’ Education Council

–          Father Rory Brady, Diocese of Raphoe

–          Father Willie Purcell, Diocese of Ossory

–          Father Iggy McCormack, Diocese of Killaloe

It is hoped that these inspirational stories recounting the personal faith journeys of priests will be of interest to all Catholics and especially those men who feel that they may have a calling to the priesthood.

Click here to view the first video in this series.

Parish Resources for Vocations Sunday

A series of resources have been prepared and made available to parishes around the country for Vocations Sunday. These include the text of the papal message, some quotes from Pope Francis on vocations, information on Vocation Voices, Social media resources including tweets which can be used to promote vocations, parish and family prayers for vocations, posters, parish newsletter notices, homily notes, prayers of the faithful, a family take-home page and useful links for those who have a query on vocations to priesthood or religious life.

These resources have been circulated to parishes and are available to download from the following link – Parish Resources for Vocations Sunday 2013 web

Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, to host Seminary Open Day

On the Sunday following Vocations Sunday, Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, the National Seminary, will host an Open Day on 28 April. This Open Day is primarily to provide an opportunity for men discerning a vocation to priesthood to meet and speak with those involved in priestly formation and with seminarians. It will include a tour of the seminary, a chance to meet and chat to seminarians, a look at a day in the life of a seminarian, testimonies from priests and seminarians and an opportunity for questions. Mass will be celebrated and the open day will conclude with supper.

“Today too, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others.” – Pope Francis (excerpt from his inauguration Mass homily)