A Catholic Monthly Magazine


Fr Bernard Carney sm

Fr Bernard Carney sm

A common question in my childhood was “What are you going to be when you grow up?” This is a question that all have to face sooner or later. The ability to dream of an occupation can stretch from the sublime to the ridiculous.   In the end a person’s   occupation is often shaped by family background, economic circumstances and ambition. Behind everything there is the call to holiness.

Pope Francis reminds us in a recent audience that holiness is covered through the Sacraments of Marriage and Holy Orders. These of course not the only paths whereby a person can be called to the Lord.

It has to be said in our society both of these Sacraments are not as popular as they once were. Different reasons can be advanced as to why there are fewer marriages and ordinations taking place in today’s society. One commonly put forward is the reluctance of the younger generation to make a permanent commitment   both of these Sacraments demand.

When vocation is spoken of, more commonly it means a call to the priesthood. In our local society the lack of young men coming forward to be priests is both a concern and a challenge. The challenge is being explored in our country by devising different ways of meeting people’s spiritual needs. Restructuring of parishes and the ever greater use of lay people are two responses.

When it comes down to it there is still need for men to be chosen and consecrated. In   a recent general audience the Holy Father went on to say,” Those who are ordained are placed at the head of the community. Yes, they are at the ‘head’ but for Jesus this means placing their authority at the service of the community .. ‘whoever wants to be great among you must first be your slave’ ..The Pope then goes on to emphasise   the means the bishop and the priest can take to strengthen the gift that has been given him.    “When the ministry is not nurtured by prayer, by listening to the Word of God, with the daily   celebration of the Eucharist and also with regular confession, the authentic sense of none’s own service is inevitably lost from view.”

Being the head of a community the bishop and the priest have a right to assistance from that community when it comes to spiritual encouragement. Scripture and History tell us that the Church will face adversity both from scandals from within and persecution from without. They also tell us that personal prayer and a firm faith in the Lord will help greatly in the advancement of the Kingdom.   

(Source VIS, 16 January and 27 March 2014.) 


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