A couple of announcements this week. First, the bad news for you, and the good news for me. Archbishop Comensoli has appointed me as parish priest of St Mary’s. Up until now, I have been administrator. The major difference is that I now have a set term. I have been appointed for 6 years.
The other major announcement is that Archbishop Comensoli has asked that I take on the role of Director of Vocations. I misheard it as Director of Vacations and said yes way too quickly. He corrected me, and told me to pray on it. I did, and decided to accept the role. However, I believe it is providential that these two appointments come at the same time.
I always remember when Pope Benedict XVI was introduced to the world as the new pope. He immediately stated his job was far too big for any one person, and so he would be relying on our prayers. This is clearly also the case with vocations to the priesthood. Everyone is aware that religious practice is on the decline in the Western World. Moreover, following the Royal Commission, many people find it difficult to recommend priesthood as a vocation. The reduction in numbers plus a loss in confidence mean the priesthood is not on the radar of many.
However, there are a few counterpoints. First, anyone paying close attention realises that, although religious practice might be on the decline, the Good News needs to be proclaimed all the more for precisely that reason. Second, vocations, real vocations, are never in the end about what is popular. They are calls from God. Our Lord himself tells us that if we want priests then we have to pray for them. We should rely on prayer, on Jesus to give us what we need, not on our own merits or popularity. Finally, the ordained priesthood flows out of and is ordered to the baptismal priesthood. So, all of us must pray for this.
I believe, then, that it is not just me that has been given this role. Rather, the parish of St Mary’s has been given a special role in relation to priestly vocations. And so I would ask for your prayers throughout my time with you to this end. I will begin to offer more Masses for such vocations. However, I would also ask you to pray for this intention. In particular, given what parish we belong to, I would ask that you pray three decades of the Rosary each day for priestly vocations. I am going to be asking a number of groups to do this, but I would like to start at home. God bless, and thanks in advance for the prayers.