At this time of year a significant number of men and women are discerning their vocation in life. Most Seminaries and Religious Communities, including the Franciscans have an intake of canditades only once a year, normally in September and so this is a time when men and women really need our prayers.
We have been blessed in the Irish Franciscan Province that there are a number of men interested in our ‘Way of Life’ at this time and I plead with you to remember those men in your prayers during this difficult time of discernment.
May 15th this year is ‘Vocations Sunday’ and Vocations Ireland have planned an interesting event for that ‘World Day of Prayer for Vocations’. The venue is Muckross Abbey, Killarney, Co Kerry starting with a Prayer Service at the Abbey at 1.00 pm followed by a 3-mile walk to the Franciscan Friary in the town. This will be followed by a Mass in the Friary Grounds. Afterwards we will end with refreshments in the garden at the back of the Friary. All of you are welcome to attend this very special event and we are encouraging as many as possible to be present. We hope that many young Religious presently in formation will turn up and will take part in the pilgrimage walk.
I encourage you to read the Message of Pope Benedict XVI for this the 48th World Day of Prayer for Vocations:
“The work of carefully encouraging and supporting vocations finds a radiant source of inspiration in those places in the Gospel where Jesus calls his disciples to follow him and trains them with love and care. We should pay close attention to the way that Jesus called his closest associates to proclaim the Kingdom of God (cf. Lk 10: 9). In the first place, it is clear that the first thing he did was to pray for them: before calling them, Jesus spent the night alone in prayer, listening to the will of the Father (cf. Lk 6: 12) in a spirit of interior detachment from mundane concerns. It is Jesu’ imtimate conversation with the Father which results in the calling of his disciples. Vocations to the ministerial priesthood and to the consecrated life are first and foremost the fruit of constant contact with the living God and insistent prayer lifted up the the “Lord of the harvest”, whether in parish communities, in Christian families or in groups specifically devoted to prayer for vocations.
It is essential that every local Church become more sensitive and attentive to the pastoral care of vocations, helping children and young people in particular at every level of family, parish and associations – as Jesus did with his disciples – to grow into genuine and affectionate freindship with the Lord, cultivated through personal and liturgical prayer; to grow in familiarity with the Sacred Scriptures and thus to listen attentively and fruitfully to the word of God; to understand that entering into God’s will does not crush or destroy a person, but instead leads to the discovery of the deepest truth about ourselves; and finally to be generous and fraternal in relationships with others, since it is only in being open toe the love of God that we discover true joy and the fulfillment of our aspirations. “Proposing Vocations in the Local Church” means having the courage, through an attentive and suitable concern for vocations, to point out this challenging way of following Christ which, because it is so rich in meaning, is capable of engaging the whole of one’s life.”
If you are interested in finding out more about the ‘Franciscan Way of Life’ please don’t hesitate to contact me at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
God bless you all.