The Bishop of Plymouth has encouraged all parishes in the diocese of Plymouth to pray the Rosary, at least once a week, for vocations to the priesthood.
In a pastoral letter, to be read in all churches throughout the diocese this weekend, Bishop Mark O’Toole encourages an atmosphere of prayer for vocations in the diocese. “I am asking each parish to pray the Rosary, at least once a week for priestly vocations, on a day and at a time that is most suitable for you.”
The bishop also urges the diocese to look at their community and encourage young men within it who may be called to the priesthood. “It is only God who can give us these vocations, and we know that Mary, especially, can assist us in our efforts. We entrust our desire and need for vocations to her in a ‘circle of prayer’ across the diocese.”
He also calls on continued prayers within families to encourage young people in their life choices and that they are open to a priestly or religious vocation.
Recalling when he went to train for the priesthood, the bishop admits that he was a “rather naïve young man” but points out that “at some level I wanted to be the kind of priest who was a cross between Robert de Niro and Jeremy Irons, converting the world!” Idealism and sacrifice are attractive to youngsters.
“Nobody wants to join something that’s died the death of a thousand compromises.”
Bishop O’Toole highlights this weekend’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, in which we “hear how Paul and Barnabas were vital in ensuring that the Good News spread, so that more and more people were able to encounter the Lord Jesus.”
He stressed the need for men and women to have the challenge of following Christ put before them as well. “These are precious paths on which to encourage our young people to embark. We need to give others the accompaniment they need in order to make generous decisions about their lives.”
The bishop notes that Plymouth is fortunate to have three men studying for the priesthood and two men starting their priestly formation in September.