As part of the initiatives of the team promoting the Year of Vocation, next Sunday (September 28th, 2008) has been designated Priesthood Sunday. According to the official website of the Year of Vocation the aim is to provide an opportunity to 'highlight and promote particularly, the vocation to the priesthood. It is a day to reflect upon and affirm the role of the priest in the life of the Church'. Secondly, the day is to give an opportunity 'to highlight the fact that God is calling men to become priests, and that those answering this call can be happy, content, and fulfilled, as they make a meaningful contribution to modern society'.
There is no doubt that this initiative is laudable. It is modelled on a similar celebrations in the Australian and American church these past few years. But to me it seems a pity that 'priesthood' as a vocation category is only recognised several months into the Year of Vocation. To me, there is a sense that the Irish Church is afraid to actively promote the vocation to the priesthood (and religious life).
So let us, of course, celebrate Priesthood Sunday. It might be a catalyst to overcome the fear of promoting the vocation to priesthood.