Two young men from County Monaghan have answered the call to share in the mission of the Church by recently beginning formation and academic programmes which will, hopefully, lead to them being ordained priests for the Diocese of Clogher over the coming years. In addition, another man, from Enniskillen, is undertaking formation and academic preparation for the permanent diaconate. This good news comes as the Catholic Church throughout the world marks an Extraordinary Month of Mission, declared by Pope Francis in order to focus on the vital contribution that all Catholics can play in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and making his message known to all people, at home and elsewhere.
The two students for priesthood are Stephen Sherry from Tullycorbet parish who has begun academic studies and formation at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, and Matthew Newell from Clones parish who has commenced his propaedeutic programme at the English College of St Alban at Valladolid in Spain. In addition, Paul Flynn, Choir Director at St Michael’s Parish, Enniskillen, is also progressing his studies and formation for the permanent diaconate in Clogher. The Dublin-born man, who also assists in the Lisnaskea-Maguiresbridge / Newtownbutler-Donagh parishes, is undertaking his studies alongside others through the programme put in place in Belfast by the Diocese of Down and Connor.
On Sunday 20 October we will mark Mission Sunday. On that day and throughout this month we will reflect on what mission means today. Traditionally, mission meant priests and nuns going to mission lands to spread the faith. That is still a huge part of the Church’s missionary work. But today the mission of the Church is also here at home in our own place – and in our own hearts. As the theme of Mission Sunday puts it, “Together We Are Mission”. A further example of the Mission Sunday theme at work before our eyes is that over recent years several African priests have come to help out in Clogher, including Fr Nicholas Maanzo who is presently ministering in the parishes of the Mid-Monaghan Pastoral Area. Each of us, priests, deacons, religious and lay, are called to be witnesses and to answer the call to live out our vocation.
Pope Francis, in his message for Vocations Sunday earlier this year mentioned that ‘every vocation is a summons not to stand on the shore, nets in hand, but to follow Jesus on the path he has marked out for us, for our own happiness and the good of those around us.’
Bishop Larry Duffy has thanked Stephen, Matthew and Paul for their generous response to God’s call. He has asked that the clergy and people of the diocese pray for them, for vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life and for a greater missionary commitment by everyone. ‘All of these men, through their positive response, offer us a sign of hope. I pray that many more men will answer the call to priesthood and the diaconate, and that many more will hear God’s call to serve the Church in various forms of lay ministry and religious life, courageously following the way that Jesus is putting before them’, he said. Bishop Duffy also thanked those who continue to work for vocations at diocesan level and all those who assist the great work of St Joseph’s Young Priests’ Society.
People in all parishes of the diocese are being asked to pray for vocations throughout this month and over the period ahead. A special prayer for vocations has been written for this and is being circulated to parishes.
Anyone interested in discussing a possible vocation to priesthood or the diaconate is asked to contact the Diocesan Director of Vocations, Fr Raymond Donnelly CC 4 Darling Street, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh BT74 7DP. Tel. 028-66322075; email: firstname.lastname@example.org . More information can be found on www.vocations.ie
PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS
God our Father,
you call us by name
and ask us to follow you.
Help us to grow in the love
and service of our Church today.
Grant us the courage to embrace Christ’s mission of love and justice.
Bless the Church of Clogher by raising up dedicated and generous leaders
from our families and friends;
people who will serve your people as,
Priests, Sisters, Brothers, Deacons and Lay Ministers.
Bless those who have already answered your call and who are now preparing to serve your people as priests and deacons.
Inspire us to know you better
and open our hearts
to hear your call.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.