Pastor's Desk: 5th Sunday of Easter

Posted 9th May 2009 in Pastor's Desk

Greetings all, on this Fifth Sunday of Easter. Today is also PRIESTHOOD Sunday, when we pray for the seminarians currently training for the diocese and pray also for an increase in vocations to the priesthood.

There is no doubt about it but the decline in the number of priests in the diocese is really beginning to be felt. We can see this in our own parish where we are currently down to two fulltime priests in the parish despite the fact that the number of households has increased 100% from 3000 to 6000. The archbishop has a difficult job in appointing fewer priests around parishes that have grown in population. Each year the problem becomes more acute. Two weekends ago, the diocese lost two priests in one weekend; Fr. Jim O’Sullivan was curate in Ballinteer and Fr. Michael Hassett was Parish Priest in Palmerstown. These men were not retirees but active priests in their parishes and so their deaths increase the number of vacancies but there are not the equivalent number available to fill them. Gaps will appear and will not be filled.

The demands on priests have increased dramatically and needs a response if we are to avoid burnout and incapacity due to ill health. One way the diocese is approaching the problem is by grouping parishes together so that the priests of the group can try to cover the needs of those parishes. In this Deanery we are beginning to address the issue and just after Easter the Chairpersons and Secretaries of the Parish Pastoral Councils of Ayrfield, Kinsealy, Portmarnock and ourselves here in Holy Trinity met together along with the PPs of the parishes. It was a first meeting and at it we recognised the growing needs of all parishes and agreed to meet again to see can we formulate definite plans for working together. I will keep you informed of the progress we make.

So the shortage of priests poses a major question; has God stopped calling men to the ordained ministry? For me the answer is no, God is still calling men to work as diocesan priests in Dublin but fewer men are answering the call. Please pray for your priests and pray for the seminarians currently in training for the diocese. Two men will be ordained this summer and a further 15 are in training across the seven years. The Second Collection today is for the support of the Seminarians and replaces the usual SHARE Collection.

Fr. Eoin

Leave a Reply