Sunday, July 09, 2006

How the Mighty have Fallen

Recruitment drive as number of young priests dwindles

Church scandals must not put off young men from joining the priesthood, the Archbishop of Dublin said today.

As vocations continue to dwindle, Dr Diarmuid Martin ordained the first priests into his Archdiocese in two years at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral.

He also told a 600-strong congregation that Ireland’s economic success was neglecting social problems like alcohol and drugs.

“I challenge those young men who may be thinking in terms of a possible call to the priesthood,” Dr Martin said in his homily.

“I challenge those who may never have allowed that thought to be fully addressed in their hearts.

"Jesus may be calling you to take that great step of generosity which can also lead you to true authenticity in your life.

“Do not be afraid. Do not be overcome by the failures of priests or by scandals. Let your love of Jesus Christ open your heart to the challenge of becoming a good priest, a priest totally detached from the values of the world in order to bring true value to the world.”

Dubliners Padraig O’Sullivan and Robert Colclough and Joseph McDonald from Belfast received holy orders today.

The three priests, who are all aged over 40, were trained at the national seminary in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, where eight others are due to be ordained later this year.

Almost half of the Dublin archdiocese’s 2,000 priests are currently over 50 years of age.

Dr Martin continued: “We need priests and we need good priests who are authentic human beings and authentic ministers to the Lord. Young people turn towards the Church in their search for authenticity. Often their glance moves too quickly elsewhere.”