As baptised Christians we all share in the Priesthood of Christ and we are all called to work for Christ in our world. The response to this call takes many forms, in how we live our lives and in how we work, but within that context, vocation to the priesthood will always have a vital and fundamental place in Christian living.
The call to priesthood is a call apart, a call to immerse oneself in Christ, a call to be with and work with the community. The priest is a leader and a servant who moulds his life on the example Christ has given. At the very centre of the priesthood is the celebration of the Eucharist. John Paul II described it as the source and summit of the Christian life. As a minister of the Eucharist and other sacraments, he is a source of life for the whole Body, the Church.
The life of the priest is a life of service and love, a life that touches people at their deepest level, where they meet with God. A priest is human and has all his own human failings but by working sincerely and authentically can know that what he does is of infinite value. Those called to priesthood and who are accepted into formation should not be put of by fear of their shortcomings. The priest is not a superman; the priest is rather one who lives his life faults and all to the best of his abilities. Many are called but few are chosen so don’t ignore the call rather explore it and see if priesthood is for you. The formation process helps the student discern the call and helps the person understand if they can live the life, because while God calls he would never expect someone to do that which they cannot do. A vocation is God’s invitation to you and all you can do is explore it and respond with “yes” or “no”!
This is the beginning of the third millennium and it is a challenging time for priesthood, it is our time, the time we are called to serve. The priest is a man of faith who puts his trust in God and the only way to face the challenges of this new millennium is to place your future in God’s hands. We are all called to serve the church and we should all feel the need to foster vocations, to encourage and not hinder a response to the Lord. As Christians prayer is central in our lives, Christ tells us “to ask and it shall be given” and so we should ask constantly that the Lord of the harvest will send willing helpers into the fields.
– Archbishop Diarmuid Martin