This is a very different year from any other year in living memory. Who could have believed a few months back that we would be celebrating Easter behind closed doors? That the most attending a Funeral Mass might be ten. And that Baptisms, First Communions and Confirmations are all postponed, until it is determined that it is safe to gather.

And in all of this our priests have been hugely creative. Close to three quarters of our parishes are now offering Masses, ceremonies and reflections on some digital platform. And yet in our hearts we know we are not a digital church, we are a community of faith who gather around the altar to give worship. How often we have perhaps said in recent days, “if only we knew how long this will last, we could plan, we could organise things maybe differently”. But we don’t know.

It’s into this world that a priest is ordained to serve. I pay great tribute to the 58 men in our diocese currently cocooned and ask you to pray for them this weekend. I hugely acknowledge the work of the other men across our diocese who are ministering very much on the frontline in these pandemic times.

In recent weeks we have heard very engaging and moving accounts of what it’s like to minister in a hospital setting; we have participated in splendid Masses and Holy Hours on webcams and Facebook and we have worked at a local pastoral level reaching out in a variety ways to the vulnerable and the cocooned. The consistency and connection of the priest animating the local parish is critical in every case.

Never before was there a greater need for good priests, who witness to the love, mercy and compassion of Christ in their daily lives.

If you think God is calling you to serve as a priest in the Church here in Kildare & Leighlin, kindly contact our Vocations Director Fr. Ruairí Ó Domhnaill at 083.3343744 or talk to me or any of our priests. Don’t leave it until tomorrow. The need is today.

Blessings on all of you as we celebrate Vocations Sunday 2020, this Sunday, May 3rd.

+Denis