As an initiative of the current Year for Vocation to the Diocesan Priesthood, the Vocations Office of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference is participating at the ‘Youth 2000 Summer Festival’ over these four days at Clongowes Wood College SJ, Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin. Over five hundred young people are expected to attend this annual festival of faith.
The festival includes daily Mass, celebrated tomorrow by Bishop Denis Nulty of Kildare & Leighlin, and by Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan of Waterford & Lismore on Sunday; speakers reflecting on Jesus and Mary in our life; all night Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; praise and worship concert; discussions in small and large groups; personal testimonies; workshops; drama; and an introduction to Holy Scripture. The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) is also available for those in attendance.
Bishop Cullinan said, “I am so grateful to the Youth 2000 for hosting this faith retreat for the benefit of so many young people from the 32 counties of Ireland. Last week I, and 1,500 pilgrims from our island, had the wonderful experience of attending World Youth Day in Lisbon, and the final Mass celebrated by Pope Francis for 1.5m people. The powerful words of the Holy Father, encouraging young people not be afraid to change the world, still echo in my heart: “the Church and the world need you, the young, as much as the earth needs rain. To all of you, dear young people, who are the present and the future, yes to all of you, Jesus now says: “Have no fear”, “Do not be afraid!”
Father Willie Purcell of our own Diocese and Deacon Eric Cooney of Dublin, are representing the Bishops’ Vocations Office stand at the festival. Father Purcell is also presenting at a workshop on the theme, The vocational call to diocesan priesthood.
Father Purcell said, “I am very happy with the questions and positive conversations about vocations that I heard today. The call to diocesan priesthood is radical, counter-cultural, and means taking the risk for Christ. Wherever he is called, the diocesan priest serves his people and Church with generosity and a total trust in God. He, like Mary with the heart of a missionary, bring Christ into the lives and hearts of those placed in his care. Personally, I feel my vocation to be a blessing and I am humbled on a daily basis by the level of support that I receive in my ministry.”