*Pictured at St. Flannan’s College is Diocese of Vocations Director Fr. Ignatius McCormack and Mark Nestor of Ennis, County Clare, who entered the seminary at Maynooth during September 2023. Mark is a former student of St. Flannan’s College where Fr. Iggy currently is Principal. Photograph: Eamon Ward
A NEW DRIVE to encourage men to consider joining the priesthood has been launched by the Diocese of Killaloe.
This weekend, visits to parishes across the Diocese in Clare, Laois, Offaly, Tipperary and Limerick commence in Ennis followed by visits to Nenagh, Birr and Castleconnell during October.
With just over half of the 58 parishes in the Diocese currently served by a resident priest, Vocations Director Fr. Iggy McCormack says there is hope the three vocations recorded in the Diocese of Killaloe during the past 12 months can be built on during the ‘Year for Vocations to the Diocesan Priesthood’.
He explained, “Geographically, we are the third largest Diocese in the country and is it has become increasingly difficult to maintain full cover across the five counties due to retirements and a lower number of vocations. The idea of young men taking up a vocation has arguably become more countercultural in recent years, but we are very hopeful that we can build on recent progress whereby three men from the Diocese will enter the seminary at Maynooth over the next twelve months”.
Fr. McCormack, who also is Principal of St. Flannan’s College in Ennis, said the vocations initiative will encourage people to discover more about vocations on the Diocesan website while the parish church visits are aimed at kickstarting conversations within family groups, with local priests and in communities across the Diocese on the vocation of priesthood.
He continued, “I am encouraging any man who has been considering a vocation and is exploring their calling to make contact today with the Vocations Office or to speak with their local priest. Most newly ordained priests will comment on how the encouragement and counsel they received from their local priest greatly assisted in commencing their journey to priestly ministry.”
Ennis native Mark Nestor, a former secondary school teacher and a Fianna Fáil councillor from 2019 to 2022 entered the National Seminary at Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth last week having spent the past year at the Royal English College of St Alban in Valladolid, Spain.
“Answering yes to my vocation to the priesthood has resulted in a great sense of contentment in my life,” Mark admitted. “The support I have received from family, friends and the Diocese over the last two years has been phenomenal. I would encourage anyone who feels they have a vocation to priesthood to reach out and talk about their vocation”.