If you have an interest finding out more about the path to priesthood or the permanent diaconate in this diocese, you are very welcome to contact our Diocesan Vocations Director:
Fr. Ruairi O’Domhnaill
The Presbytery, Old Dublin Rd., Carlow Town
Tel: 059 9131227
Email: [email protected]
Religious life ought to promote growth in the church by way of attraction. The church must be attractive. Wake up the world! Be witnesses of a different way of doing things, of acting, of living! . . . It is this witness that I expect of you. Religious should be men and women who are able to wake the world up.
Jesus’ core message—that we are one—is surely one of the great mysteries of existence. This truth is so hard to accept because our senses tell a different story: We are separate, different, and alone. We need an image to help us realize what our senses cannot.
Picture the giant redwood trees of California: They only grow in groves. Moreover, each tree’s roots extend and grasp the roots of the surrounding trees, forming a strong, interconnecting network that serves to nourish and sustain all of them equally.
Remember the redwood trees and their invisible, interlocking roots as you discern your vocation. You are not alone and never will be on your chosen path to Christ.
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux lived in a Carmelite convent with her older sister Pauline. Pauline was with Thérèse throughout her brief life, illness, and death at the tender age of 24. It is no accident that Jesus sent out his disciples in pairs. Having a spiritual companion, as Thérèse did, can be of great help and comfort on the sometimes difficult spiritual journey. Cultivate spiritual friendships in your own life.
A painter and musician happened upon a spray-painted image of a cross on a walk along a Mexican road. He took a picture of what he saw: a haunting, rough, wild, desolate, but ultimately hopeful image of this universal Christian symbol. The man with the camera was simply out on a hike, but he has the discerning eye of an artist, so he sees things others might not. It is a talent cultivated over years of practice and a reminder to all of us to pay attention—for even the stones cry out the glory of God (cf. Luke: 19-40). Insights and sparks of enlightenment will come to us particularly through spiritual practice and prayer, and in those moments we will know above all else who we are and where we are being called.
Pope Francis promulgated the Year of Consecrated Life to raise the church’s awareness about the importance of this unique vocation within the communion of vocation we all share as baptized Christians. What a gift and blessing for the entire church!
Since the call of the first disciples, some followers of Jesus have sought a different way to live their faith. In the early church groups of widows gathered to dedicate themselves to prayer and good works. Others craved solitary prayer, so they fled to the desert to commune with God and guide others in the pursuit of holiness. Monasteries, cloisters, and religious houses eventually came into being, and religious life as we know it began to take shape.
Consecrated life—in its diverse expressions around the globe—is a gift to the church and world. Its prayer lifts the entire church. Likewise, good works and the pursuit of justice shape society to more closely resemble the reign of God. A life of chastity, poverty, and obedience gives powerful witness to faith in Jesus without a word being uttered.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, religious communities of men and women rise up, serve a purpose, thrive, and live on or come to an end. This ebb and flow has occurred for 2,000 years and will continue for millennia to come as new members around the world take vows and join their lives to communities to live out the gospel in radical ways.