Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Wonderful Group

I got back from Dublin last night having spent the best part of the day at the meeting of the St Joseph's Young Priests Society, which took place in St Patrick's College - a teacher training college established by the Vincentians. We began proceedings with a concelebrated Mass. I was a bit worried when the principal celebrant started making the Sign of the Cross in Irish, but fortunately for me most of the prayers were in English. Later we had introductions from Marie, the President of the Society, and an address by the Dublin regional president (I'm not sure of the exact titles). He spoke about the origins of the society and also about the importance of the Mass. It was a heartfelt talk and I think it is good for us as priests to hear how much the Mass means to ordinary lay men and women.

Afterwards there were questions and comments before lunch. One of the concerns of the Society is that its membership is now advancing a bit in years and I was asked from the floor about a possible name change to make its work more obvious. I don't think the Society needs to change. The men and women present were wonderful people, radiating joy for the faith and for the priesthood. I'm sure if they had an honest talk with their children and grandchildren they will encourage them perhaps to set up new groups and certainly to join their prayer apostolate. But the best response on this was given by a young man from the Pure in Heart community in Dublin. He said simply, "You are doing what you can do and therefore what you should be doing". I liked his comment because it would be sad if the members of the Society felt they had somehow gone wrong or that they had to change. They haven't. They are doing what they can, labouring in the Lord's vineyard and helping in the formation of nearly eight hundred priests throughout the world.

A very agreeable lunch was laid on affording me the opportunity to meet some of the Irish Vocations Directors. In Ireland plans are afoot to celebrate a 'Year of Priesthood' which I'm sure will provide a great boost to morale. After lunch I gave a presentation on promoting vocations. I spoke of the need to open up new 'fishing grounds' and the importance of the New Evangelisation so I was particularly pleased that my talk was followed by representatives of two New Movements, Pure in Heart and Youth 2000. They both do great work in Ireland. Because I found myself on the podium most of the day I wasn't able to take many photographs so I'm grateful to the delegates who sent me the ones on this post.


Anonymous said...

Is that Anne Widdecombe in the top photo?

Fr Stephen said...

No Mark. That's Marie, the president of the St Joseph's Young Priests Society. She is a very gracious and kind lady who is doing a lot to encourage the members.