May 8th Fourth Sunday of Easter

Fourth Sunday of Easter


The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis’. One stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis we should be aware of the danger, but recognise the opportunity. On this ‘Vocations Sunday’ we acknowledge the crisis in the Irish Church with regard to vocations to priesthood and religious life, but we should see in this a wonderful opportunity to awaken what Cardinal Ó Fiaich once called the ‘sleeping giant’ of the laity. The mission of the Church is the mission of all. Pope Francis is calling on all the faithful to embrace this mission with enthusiasm and journey forward with confidence on what he terms ‘the synodal pathway’. It is his vision for the future that the entire Church family, priests, religious and laity will walk forward together, listening to one another and above all, listening to the voice and promptings of Holy Spirit. Our upcoming Diocesan Assembly is a response to the Holy Father’s request. May the Spirit guide our deliberations and guide us in our efforts to discern new ways to manifest God’s love in a seemingly indifferent world, to be as renowned Dutch theologian Henri Nouwen said, ‘witnesses to the glimpses of God we have been allowed to catch’. As we embark on the synodal pathway let us remind ourselves that God does not call the equipped, but He does equip the called. He has committed some work to me that He has not committed to another. St. Catherine of Siena, an Italian laywoman of the fourteenth century, grasped this truth which lies at the heart of vocation, and expressed it memorably: ‘If you are what you should be, then you will set the world on fire’.