Since the news of the holding of the Year of Prayer for Vocations in Ireland, (April 2008 to May 2009) there has been a fair deal of coverage in the Irish Catholic media. Elsewhere in this blog you will see some reference to this. This is encouraging. I was particularly pleased to see one commentator in the current edition of the Irish Catholic newspaper (edition January 17, 2008)call for the need to get rid of the word 'crisis' each time we speak of vocations promotion. Think about it! The two words really have lapsed into our vocabulary about vocations.
Not all of the coverage is positive, however. In the same issue, an article entitled 'Vocations, like the Dead Sea, are drying up!' written by a priest of the Dublin diocese. He cites reading a report about abuse in an Irish docese as a reason why people trust in the Church much less. It is a pity that this is his starting point. No one denies the terrible hurt and anger, but those who are thinking of committing themselves these days as possible seminarians or religious to the Irish church have known no other time than for the Church to be in crisis, and trying desperately to deal with it. 'The lack of trust is pivotal in the dearth of vocations' says this priest - and yet, in my experience as vocations director, I have only heard this sentiment from one enquirer in the past seven years! There was little by way of positivity in the article - but then, some priests regrettably live in a world where they think they know what the people of God think - and quite regularly are way off the mark.
That said, it is great that there is a debate about vocations in Ireland. Hopefully, it will be a healthy and constructive one.