It is a risk I know to label anyone as a prophet - especially when they are still alive and even more so when they are young! So, I hope that you will forgive me for naming a prophet in this brief post. His name is Andrew O' Connell (pictured), who is the communications director for the Presentation Brothers in Ireland. He is, in my opinion, the most authentic and credible commentator on vocations in Ireland. He rarely misses an opportunity at any meeting, gathering, lecture or article to make a case for vocations to priesthood and religious life. And not only make the case but to challenge, inspire, animate and enthuse others about the subject.
A case in point: this week's Irish Catholic newspaper (edition February 26, 2009) Andrew writes in his comment piece about the negativity of many surrounding the so-called 'vocations crisis'. He says that the 'crisis' is not the work of the Holy Spirit but '...due to a pathology of tiredness within the Church in the West. It is due to half-hearted and poorly resourced efforts to build a culture of vocation in the Church'. He proposes that we get back to basics on vocations and he ends with a mighty challenge: 'In particular, on the issue of vocations, it's time for people to make a choice. Lead. Follow. Or get out of the way.'
For many, these words will be difficult to hear, even unpalatable. But they are crucial and important words - just like the words of the prophets of the scriptures.
I am delighted to announce that Dr Andrew O' Connell will be joining us, the Dominicans, to give some input on discernment, at our next Year of Vocation event which will be held in Saint Saviour's Dominican Priory, Dorset Street, Dublin 1 on March 14th next. Details about the event can be found elsewhere on this blog.