New vocations prayer initiative launches this Vocations Sunday ahead of Fatima Centenary

Vocations Sunday, this Sunday 7 May, will be marked in Ireland with the launch of a new vocations prayer initiative to coincide with centenary celebrations of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima.

2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. To coincide with this event, the Bishops’ Council for Vocations in collaboration with Saint Joseph’s Young Priests Society, the Knights of Saint Columbanus and Vocations Ireland have asked that on the opening day of the centenary celebrations, 13 May, a time of prayer will be held for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life in Ireland.

Pope Francis will be in Fatima for the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima on 13 May where he will canonise two of the visionaries of the Marian apparitions – Jacinta and Francisco Marto. On the same day in Ireland people are invited to pray the Angelus or a decade of the Rosary for vocations to the priesthood and religious life at 12noon. It is also encouraged that on the 13th of each month, from May – October 2017, a decade of the rosary be prayed for vocations in Ireland.

Commenting on the prayer initiative Father Willie Purcell, National Coordinator for Diocesan Vocations said, “This is an invitation to prayer we are extending to parishes, schools and families. Pope Francis said that ‘vocations are born in prayer, and only in prayer can they persevere and bear fruit’.”

Margaret Cartwright, Director of Vocations Ireland, said, “Vocations Ireland are delighted to be part of the joint prayer initiative because praying for vocations is the most important aspect of vocation promotion and working together to create a culture of vocation is so important in our world today. Pope Francis has called for a fresh and courageous perspective when helping youth discern and discover their vocation, prayer is key to that discernment process.”

Dublin Diocesan President of Saint Joseph’s Young Priests Society, Kieran Hickey, said that they are fully supportive of this prayer initiative, as prayer is the source of priestly vocation.

Commenting on this new prayer initiative Barney Mac Mahon, Supreme Knight with the Knights of Saint Columbanus said, “We can’t understand our calling and our vocation until we listen to the Lord, until we look upon the Lord and until we realise who it is we’re really serving.”

The prayer initiative will be launched this Sunday to coincide with the broadcast of the annual Vocations Sunday Mass on RTÉ One Television at 11.00am which will be celebrated by Father Willie Purcell. Music will be provided by the staff, students and friends of the National Centre for Liturgy Maynooth. Representatives from the Council for Vocations, Vocations Ireland, Saint Joseph’s Young Priests Society, and the Knights of Saint Columbanus along with members of religious orders and seminarians from the National Seminary will be present.

Father Purcell said that the prayer initiative ties in with the sentiments expressed by Pope Francis in his message for Vocations Sunday in which he says, “I ask parish communities, associations and the many prayer groups present in the Church, not to yield to discouragement but to continue praying that the Lord will send workers to his harvest.”

Those taking part in the prayer initiative are invited to use the social media hashtag #Pray4Vocations.