Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Encouraging vocations

In the last decade the number of seminarians in England and Wales has almost doubled; rising from 26 in 2001 to 51 last year. This, I'm sure you'll all agree, is extremely encouraging news as the Church cannot continue to joyfully and faithfully proclaim the Gospel for generations to come without good and holy priests to offer the Mass and adminster the sacraments each and every day.

Whilst we all rejoice in vocations to the priesthood, the religious life, the consecrated life, single life and marriage very rarely do they come to fruition all on their own. God speaks to each and every person, calls each and every person to Himself, asks each and every one of us to do some special work. No two vocations are exactly the same just as no two of us are totally alike. We have all been given different gifts and abilities and are called to use them in a wide range of ways.

Despite this call definitely being there for us it can be very hard, seemingly impossible at times, amidst the hustle and bustle and busy-ness and noise of our modern world to discern properly what this means. One thing which we can all try, especially with Lent starting tomorrow, is to make more time, more space in our day for prayer. It doesn't have to be lengthy, it doesn't even have to be complex it just has to be there. Giving God that little part of ourselves, the opportunity to work with and within us for a period of time each day may initially seem to make little impact but, believe me, it makes the world of difference.

Another thing to consider this Lent to help you or someone you know hear God's will for them in their life is to join one of the many discernment groups in our area. Our diocesan Vocation's Director runs several, including Alive in Christ - Women Discerning God's Call, which meets again next Tuesday (for more info click here) and the annual retreat for enquirers to the priesthood (click here for the details on that one). Go on, have a look. You never know where it might lead!

But most importantly of all please join me in praying a decade of the rosary every day for vocations. These prayers are always heard and answered. Let's see if, through this gentle but powerful prayer, we can help to double the number of seminarians (and more) over the next ten years!

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