Diocese of Ferns - Vocations


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It is a privilege to work with the priests of the future. Despite these challenging times, it is a sign of great hope to see that God is still calling young men to answer his call to enter his vineyard and serve Him and his people.

Here in the seminary in the Irish College in Rome, there are presently 24 seminarians: 16 are Irish, with the remaining 8 coming from six different countries around the world and whose ages range from 21 to 38. The cultural mix is both a blessing and a challenge but one that reflects the cultural diversity that is a reality in many of our parishes in Ireland. Ever student's vocational story is unique yet we are united in a common faith and a common desire: to do God's will and respond to his call to bring the saving love of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. Working with these young men is not a one way street.

As I teach so do I learn more all the time about our first call to be human, living the Christian life and the call to priesthood. Working with seminarians means helping them be responsible for their own formation and to cultivate an awareness of how the Spirit is constantly inviting us to growth and newness everyday. This process may begin in seminary but lasts a lifetime. Only when we have come to know the transforming power of God in every aspect of our own lives as priests are we ready to accompany and lead others in the wonderful adventure of life in God. thank God for the opportunity and challenge that this ministry presents.

To all those who are considering a vocation to priesthood, the words of the Lord, repeated so often by Pope John Paul II, come immediately to mind:
'Do not be afraid!' If God is calling you then he will not be lacking in generosity in helping you to answer 'yes' with courage and faith.

Listen to the voice within and trust. Responding may lead to seminary where that call will be nourished and grow stronger. Here in the Irish College, this is our work with young men who have answered that call. Yet, every day, this work reminds me of my own call: hearing it again with new clarity with the invitation to respond by giving everything.

May God pour out his Holy Spirit of wisdom and strength upon all those considering priesthood at this time and may He continue to give us shepherds after his own heart modelled on the Good Shepherd who gave his life for all and who came that we may have life in abundance.

Billy Swan,
Director of Formation,
Pontifical Irish College,

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Last Update Feb 08 2016

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