Archbishop Rino Fisichella to address vocations conference in Maynooth

21 Apr 2023

Next week will see the start of the ‘Year for Vocation to the Diocesan Priesthood’ on the theme Take the Risk for Christ.  You, or a representative, are invited to a one-day conference on Evangelisation and Vocation hosted by the National Vocations Office of the Irish Bishops’ Conference:

Time and date           10.00am on Tuesday 25 April 2023

Venue                         Renehan Hall, Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth

In attendance            Archbishop Rino Fisichella, Pro-Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Evangelisation; President and Vice-President of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh and Archbishop Dermot Farrell of Dublin; Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan of Waterford and chair of the Council for Vocations; Rev Professor Michael Mullaney, President, and  Father Tomás Surlis, Rector, of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth; clergy, seminarians and other guests.

The keynote speaker, Archbishop Fisichella, will address the conference on the theme ‘Priesthood in a Synodal Church’.  In addition, a panel of expert speakers will be facilitated by Ms Wendy Grace: Ms Jennifer Kehoe, Bishop Donal McKeown, Father Brendan Kilcoyne and Dr Gavin Ashenden. 

As conference space is limited, journalists who wish to attend are invited to contact the Catholic Communications Office in advance.  Photographs from the conference for publication by media will be available from John McElroy on +353 (0) 87 2416985 and by email [email protected].  


  • The Year for Vocation has been organised by the Bishops’ Council for Vocations and will commence on Good Shepherd Sunday, 30 April next. 
  • Schedule for conference on Tuesday 25 April 2023, Evangelisation and Vocation, in Saint Patricks’ College, Maynooth:

10:00 Welcome by facilitator Ms Wendy Grace, journalist, broadcaster and commentator

10:05 Opening prayer– Archbishop Francis Duffy, Archbishop of Tuam

10:10 Introduction to:

  • Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan, Chair of the Council for Vocations of the Irish Bishops’ Conference
  • Archbishop Rino Fisichella, Pro-Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Evangelisation

10:20 Keynote address: ‘Priesthood in a Synodal Church’ by Archbishop Fisichella 

11:00 Response to Archbishop Fisichella by Father Tomás Surlis, Rector of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth


11:10 Introduction to the responding panel by Wendy Grace:

  • Ms Hilda Grace, mother of priest
  • Bishop Donal McKeown, Bishop of Derry
  • Michael Kelly, editor of The Irish Catholic, broadcaster and commentator
  • Stephen Sherry, seminarian

11:40 Questions from the audience facilitated by Wendy Grace

12:00 Bishop Cullinan expresses gratitude to Archbishop Fisichella

12:15 Video testimonies on vocations: Take the Risk for Christ.  Commissioned by the National Vocations Office and produced by the religious congregation, Servant Sisters – Home of the Mother.

Lunch in Pugin Hall

14:00 Introduction to the expert panel by Wendy Grace:

  • Ms Jennifer Kehoe, wife and mother
  • Father Brendan Kilcoyne, priest of the Archdiocese of Tuam, broadcaster and commentator  
  • Dr Gavin Ashenden, former Anglican priest and bishop

15:30 Questions from the audience

15:45 Bishop Cullinan reviews and concludes conference proceedings and thanks participants

16:00 Closing prayer