Bishop asks parents to encourage their sons into priesthood
A CATHOLIC bishop has challenged parents and parishes to reach out to young men in football clubs, bands, schools and families to encourage them to consider the priesthood.
Bishop Denis Nulty of Kildare and Leighlin wrote to 56 parishes in Carlow, Kildare, Laois, Offaly, Kilkenny, Wicklow and Wexford yesterday asking the Catholic faithful to make an effort to support young men to consider becoming priests.
In a special letter read out at Masses in parishes on Vocations Sunday, the bishop suggested that parishes should ask themselves when they last produced a vocation.
His appeal comes as figures show the number of active priests in Ireland has fallen by 16pc in six years.
In his appeal, Bishop Nulty said: "If you are interested in healing wounds, extending compassion, warming hearts and offering forgiveness, then priesthood may be for you."
According to the latest report of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, there are 2,050 active clergy serving a Catholic population of 4,635,178 in Ireland, which averages out as one priest for every 2,261 Catholics.
In 2007, a report by the Council for Research and Development, a commission of the Irish Bishops' Conference, showed there were 2,464 active diocesan priests in 25 out of the 26 dioceses of Ireland. That is a drop of over 400 priests in six years.
Meanwhile, four men and one woman who have all taken the leap and answered the call to the priesthood or religious life, have just launched a booklet which provides an insight into their daily lives.
Entitled 'A Day in the Life of a Not So Typical Life', the four contributors are a seminarian, priest, religious brother, missionary brother and religious sister.
Young Capuchin friar, Brother Martin Bennett is in his sixth year with the Capuchin Franciscans and is studying theology and philosophy in All Hallows College, Dublin.
He lives with seven other friars and is involved in the Capuchin Day Centre for the homeless in Dublin, which serves over 700 meals each day.
"Since joining, I have had the opportunity to live in Oxford and Zambia, working in varied apostolates with young people, drug addicts, psychiatric patients and the homeless," he said.