Church to celebrate World Day of Prayer for Vocations this Sunday 11 May

08 May 2014

“To choose a life as a priest or religious in contemporary Ireland is a radical option, although a hugely fulfilling one.” – Bishop Donal McKeown

Theme for 2014: ‘Vocations: Witness to the Truth’

  • RTÉ to broadcast Mass for Vocations Sunday this Sunday 11 May
  • Bishop Donal McKeown vocation video reflections
  • Day in the Life series reflecting living out and discerning a vocation

This Sunday 11 May the Catholic Church around the world will celebrate our World Day of Prayer for Vocations.  This year’s theme is ‘Vocations: Witness to the Truth’.

In his message for Vocations Sunday the Holy Father Pope Francis encourages all in the Church to expect great things from God, and from ourselves in His service.  Joy for that sort of disciple enables us to venture beyond the narrow limits of our comfort zones.  That means taking risks, being prepared to journey, allowing God to be God in our lives.  Pope Francis says, “A vocation is a fruit that ripens in a well cultivated field of mutual love that becomes mutual service, in the context of an authentic ecclesial life.  No vocation is born of itself or lives for itself.  A vocation flows from the heart of God and blossoms in the good soil of faithful people”.

Bishop Donal McKeown, chair of the Bishops’ Council for Vocations, welcomed this year’s vocations message saying, “Pope Francis has a simple way of both speaking and living.  He has used many memorable phrases and images to communicate the ‘Joy of the Gospel’ – but, most of all, he shares that joy in the way he interacts with people.  However this Gospel joy is not just a pleasurable feeling, or a type of spiritual candyfloss, rather it is a joy born of mission.

“In his recent encyclical Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis writesofthe ‘unruly freedom’ of the Word of God, for ‘we are neither its masters or owners, but its guardians, heralds and servants’.  In this year’s message, the Pope calls for heroes who will go into the great harvest where many people are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. ‘And the harvest will be plentiful’.”

Bishop McKeown continued, “To choose a life as a priest or religious in contemporary Ireland is a radical option, although a hugely fulfilling one.  If you hear the call of God and wish to discern your vocation, then I invite you to speak to a priest or religious, or go to for a list of contacts for vocations directors around Ireland.”

Commenting ahead of Vocations Sunday, Father Willie Purcell, National Coordinator for Diocesan Vocations said: “We have developed resources for Vocations Sunday for the benefit and use of parishes.  The promotion of priesthood or religious life is an all year round task and these resources have been prepared with that in mind.

“Vocations Sunday is an opportunity to encourage people to think about how they are serving God and whilst every priest is a vocations director, the task of nurturing new vocations must be the responsibility of the whole parish community,” Father Purcell said.


Notes for Editors

 Bishop Donal McKeown is the Bishop of Derry and chair of the Bishops’ Council for Vocations.  The text of Pope Francis’ Vocations Sunday message is available on and the Twitter hashtag is #vocations2014

Mass for Vocations Sunday will be broadcast from the RTÉ studios in Dublin on Sunday 11 May.  Bishop McKeown will celebrate the Mass and will preach the homily.  This Mass will be simulcast on RTÉ One television, RTÉ 1xtra / LW252 / digital platforms from 11.00-11.45am.  Father Willie Purcell is coordinating the Mass on behalf of the Bishops’ Council for Vocations and Sister Moira Bergin rsm is musical director.  The opening animation will broadcast scenes from the national seminary in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth.

  •  Please see a special vocations feature on which now includes:
  •  Three new videos for Vocations Sunday in which Bishop McKeown reflects on:

–          this year’s message for Vocations Sunday from Pope Francis

–          the importance of prayer for vocations

–          how parishes can create a vocations culture

A series of written reflections entitled A Day in the Life of a Not So Typical Life in which a seminarian, a diocesan priest, a religious brother, a missionary brother and a religious sister share in detail what a typical day in their life is like.  Seminarian Robert Smyth, Father John Coughlan, Brother Martin Bennett Ofm Cap, Brother Michael O’Donoghue and Sister Maria Sidorova offer an insight into the prayer, spirituality and practicalities of an average day.

Parish resources for Vocations Sunday prepared by the Bishops’ Council for Vocations.  The Council consists of those who work to promote vocations and who strive to create a culture of vocations in the Irish Catholic Church.  Members of the Council include priests, religious, seminarians and laity.  Our resources are offered for use in parishes, religious houses, homes and schools.  They comprise liturgical materials, the papal message for Vocations Sunday, articles, prayers, and a new Day in the Life series.  The resources can also be downloaded from

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444