Our Holy Father, Pope Francis recently offered these thoughts about young men and women who respond to God's call to service within the Church today:

"How many young people feel this call to get close to Jesus within their hearts, and they are enthusiastic about it. They are not ashamed to kneel before Him and to publicly show their faith in Jesus Christ and they want to follow Him, but when their hearts are full of something else and they lack the courage to empty their hearts, they turn back and their joy becomes sadness. There are many young people today who have a vocation, but sometimes there is something that stops them:

We must pray so that the hearts of these young people may be emptied, emptied of other interests and other sentiments, so that they may become free. This is the prayer for vocations. ‘Lord, send us nuns and send us priests, defend them from idolatry, the idolatry of vanity, the idolatry of pride, the idolatry of power, the idolatry of money’. This prayer of ours is to prepare these hearts so that they are able to follow Jesus closely." (Daily Mass Homily of Pope Francis, 3 March 2014)

Indeed as a parish community we must, first of all, be a community of faith which fosters a positive and joyful response in the hearts of those young men and women who may be called to dedicate their lives to Christ and the service of His Church. Secondly we must actively identify those who may be called by the Lord to this great self-consecration.

For any young man discerning a vocation to the priesthood, or any young woman considering the consecrated life, please talk to your nearest available priest!