by on October 2nd, 2016

​A prayer for the 27th Week in Ordinary Time:

That by the power of the Holy Spirit , every man called to the priesthood will guard the treasure of his unique vocation in Christ and fan into flame his love for Christ. Lord, hear us...

(Text courtesy of the Diocese of Arlington)

by on September 25th, 2016

​A prayer for the 26th Week in Ordinary Time:

That the pursuit of righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness will mark the lives of all those discerning our Heavenly Father’s will, especially those considering a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life, we pray to the Lord.

by on September 18th, 2016

In an address to new bishops (September 2016), Pope Francis spoke specifically about candidates for the priesthood.

He said:

“I urge you to take special care of the structures of initiation of your Churches, especially the seminaries. Do not allow yourselves to be tempted by numbers, by the quantity of vocations. Seek instead the quality of the discipleship. Do not deprive seminarians of your firm and loving fatherly touch. Let them grow until they are free to be with God “as calm and peaceful as a child weaning in its mother’s arm”, not prisoners of their own whims, overcome by fragility but free to embrace all that God asks of them, even when this is not as pleasant as the maternal womb was at the start. Beware also of seminarians who retreat into a rigid way of thinking – there is always something ugly beneath the surface”.


Image courtesy of

by on September 18th, 2016

A prayer for the 25th Week in Ordinary Time:

For all those discerning the call to priesthood and religious life, especially our seminarians as they begin another year of formation: that they may grow to serve the Lord alone...

(Image courtesy of Christ's Commission Fellowship)

by on September 11th, 2016

A prayer for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

For the holiness of all those called to be examples to those who would come to believe in Christ for eternal life as priests, deacons and consecrated men and women

by on September 4th, 2016

​A prayer for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: 

​For the faithful response of all those being called by Christ to take up their cross and follow Him as a priest, deacon, sister or brother, we pray to the Lord. 

(Image from ​

by on August 28th, 2016

A prayer for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time: 

​​For a deeper sense of humble gratitude for the profoundly beautiful mystery celebrated at every Mass and for those discerning the call to priesthood and religious life...

(Image from www.sfvocations,com)

by on August 21st, 2016

A prayer for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time: 

That all those striving to enter heaven through the narrow gate of celibacy for the sake of Christ’s kingdom will find strength and peace in their freely chosen discipline...


by on August 14th, 2016

A prayer for this 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time:

That those discerning the call to ministerial priesthood will feel the love and support of their families and friends, we pray to the Lord.

by on August 7th, 2016

​A prayer for this 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time:

That those who have been given so much in their vocations as priests, deacons and consecrated men and women will imitate the Lord’s generosity as they live that gift, we pray to the Lord.   

(Image:; Prayer: Diocese of Arlington)

by on July 31st, 2016

A prayer for this 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time:​

For a deepening conviction that each of us hidden with Christ in God makes God's merciful love manifest through every vocation faithfully lived in Christ, to the glory of God and the salvation of God's people, we pray to the Lord. 

(Image:; Prayer: Diocese of Arlington)

by on July 28th, 2016

The amazing and inspiring life of Fr. Ed Thompson (gone to the Lord in 2016).

Grab a comfortable seat, relax and listen to his story.
(Video originated via Brandon Vogt at ​

by on July 24th, 2016

Our prayer for this 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time:​

That with every “Our Father” we will be mindful of His generous goodness and ask that the Holy Spirit be given to all those discerning their vocation in Christ...

We pray to the Lord. 

(Image:; Prayer: Diocese of Arlington)

by on July 17th, 2016

​Jesus desires that we, like his friend Mary, would spend time in his presence.  Take time regularly to be with Jesus and listen to his living word. (Luke 10:38-42)

If you think God is calling you to priesthood, call Fr Peter McAnenly Armagh Vocations Director. 028 37522802 or email  

Prayer of Intercession: For each of us, that we might find a balance between prayer and service, Lord hear us…

(Image: ​

by on July 10th, 2016

​We are called to love with our whole being.  Is God inviting you to love through ministry to the Church? 

Pray for generosity to serve God’s people. (Luke 10:25-37) If you think God is calling you to priesthood, call Fr. Peter McAnenly Armagh Vocations Director. 028 37522802 or email 
Prayer of Intercession: For those who suffer, especially those deprived of the basic human needs, may this Christian community reach out to them with love, Lord hear us…..

(Image from ​

by on July 3rd, 2016

​“The harvest is rich but the labourers are few: therefore ask the harvest-master to send workers to his harvest.”  Pray for vocations.  Depend on God’s providence. (Luke 10:1-9)

If you think God is calling you to priesthood, call Fr Peter McAnenly Armagh Vocations Director. 028 37522802 or email 

Prayer of Intercession: For deacons, brothers, priests, and sisters that they will be strengthened as they minister to God’s people, Lord hear us…

(Image courtesy of


by on June 26th, 2016

June 26: Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Will you choose to follow Jesus wherever he goes?  To say”yes” without hesitation requires great trust.  The reign of God needs servants to trust. (Luke 9:51-62)

If you think God is calling you to priesthood, call Fr.Peter McAnenly Armagh Vocations Director. 028 37522802 or email
Prayer of Intercession: For those who are discerning a call to service, may they trust that God will provide what they need, Lord hear us...

(Image from PrairieCalifornian)

by on June 22nd, 2016

A speech given by our newest deacon, Rev. Barry Matthews, at our recent seminar on the vocation to the priesthood:

Friends, I come from a family where my siblings are not what we might call ‘Gospel Greedy’ – this of course is more common now, I think this represents the fact that it is from a sense of individual faith and calling that men are answering the call to priesthood – one thing I will say is that in terms of family and friends – I have received unquestionable support – I have realised that while, I was ordained - it was indeed  my family and friends – some might say my first formators who were chosen and called. Indeed the entire faith community plays a role in the formation of a priest – Since arriving in Dungannon following the Ordination last week, I baptised 4 children and presided at Benediction all with the aid of the lay community who had more experience than I had.
Early on in my formation when people would ask about my journey I used to tell them I had a ‘very unusual’ route toward Maynooth. While this may be true at one level it is also true that nobody has an ‘ordinary’ journey – each person is unique – each person is called by God from a different place and each priest with his unique style has 100 parishes where the people of God will relate to him.

​Well to tell you a little about how I came to enter formation for the Diocese – well it happened in 2011 – of course a long story but I will try to shorten it. I had been discerning with the Jesuits – I had met many Jesuits and felt that their spirituality appealed to me (seeing God in all things) – the notion that God is everywhere and in everyone was something that I connected with – unfortunately I am ashamed to say that sometimes this truth is not always evident in the Church at large however through prayer and reflection I realised that indeed this is a spirituality for all not just for those called to the Jesuits – my discernment with the Jesuits was God’s way of letting me know He had other plans.

There was two moments that stand out in my discernment with the Jesuits – firstly was one evening speaking with a few student Jesuits – they referred to diocesan priest’s as ‘Sacrament Dispensers’ - this stunned me – stunned me enough to reflect at length on it – I think what I realised was that priesthood is simply about the imitation of Christ – ultimately it is about mirroring His actions – and Jesus administered sacraments – Jesus was close to those whom He ministered to.

Secondly many of you will have heard of Fr Michael Paul Gallagher – a Jesuit, he directed me on retreat for 8 days early in the summer 2011 – he told me to listen closely to my heart – my heart he said must be still and remain still – no-one else really knows whether it is or not but he said it is through this stillness that God communicates to us....

A lot of the discernment was completed by the time I plucked up the courage to speak to Fr Peter, our diocesan vocations director here in Armagh. Entering Maynooth was daunting – I had never even seen the place before I ‘moved in’ however this was a blessing as I was unaware of much of the politics that inevitably surrounds such a place. More recently then I was appointed onto the Bishops’ Council for Vocations while in seminary and during this time we spoke at large about the struggle to get young men to even discern priesthood.

My own view is that there needs to be a relational aspect – individuals are called – to be individual priests working collectively – people relate to simply being asked. Archbishop Eamon recalled on our first meeting how an Italian Archbishop told him that he makes a point to ask someone every day if they ever considered priesthood. – We can all do that – if not daily then weekly?

We need perspective – Seminary sounds daunting in an age where for example in DKIT (Dundalk Institute of Technology) in the academic year 2014/15 there was a huge 24% drop-out rate of first-years. Indeed in seminary too I joined with a class of 19 guys – 5 years later, 5 of those 19 are ordained deacons with 2 discerning religious life.... how do we make it less daunting – I think we need to emphasise that God calls us for life !! We are called to live the 6 years of formation as part of our life’s journey – some lads are put off by the academics, others because of very real personal commitments – such as mortgages etc. and are anxious about leaving jobs. As an accountant, I was aware of these issues too - however it is important for each of us to hand over such issues to God – who, if calling a man to priesthood will show a way forward.

Prayer – we all know the power of prayer, I believe there is only one thing more powerful than prayer and that is focused prayer. I know that people are praying for me by name – I can almost feel the support of individuals carrying me in prayer on my journey. For parish communities to focus on praying for ‘A priest’ and for ‘A vocation to the priesthood’ from their parish - this will give people ownership – it will allow them the opportunity to share the responsibility of the work of Vocations promotion

Finally – I think this is a good opportunity to thank everyone here for your prayers – I appreciate your support and hope that my ministry as a deacon and please God a priest will be fruitful – and I am sure with your continued prayers it will be.
Thank you.
(Pope Francis image from AFP / Getty)

by on June 20th, 2016

​On Tuesday June 7th 2016 the Armagh Diocesan Vocations Commission hosted a “Vocations Seminar” in the Synod Hall on the Cathedral grounds. Attended by over 70 people representative of organisations such as St Joseph’s Young Priests’ Society, the Knights of Columbanus, The Office for Adult Faith Development, our seminarians and many parishes throughout the diocese, the evening was an opportunity to review the programme for vocation discernment with a particular emphasis on discernment for priesthood. 

The evening was facilitated by Ms Dymphna Mallon and following an opening prayer an input was delivered by recently ordained Rev. Barry Matthews (deacon). Ms Mallon introduced the evening as being an opportunity to reflect on the role of the Vocations Commission and an opportunity to assess the best way forward in facilitating those called by God to respond with the generosity of heart required to enter fully the process of discernment/formation for priesthood.

Those gathered were invited to split into discussion groups where they were asked to reflect on a series of questions and representatives responded to the wider group in what was a robust, frank and honest assessment of the current situation and what those present could see as the pitfalls and opportunities going forward.

The evening was widely regarded by those present as an important event to begin a new approach to the promotion of vocations and a valuable exercise highlighting the support of people from every parish towards those discerning God’s call and a reminder of the level of support and prayer that seminarians receive.  


by on June 19th, 2016

​June 19th 2016 Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Following Jesus demands carrying the cross and waking in his steps.  Do you have the courage to be a follower?  Trust that Jesus will give you what you need. (Luke 9:18-24)

If you think God is calling you to priesthood, call Fr.Peter McAnenly Armagh Vocations Director. 028 37522802 or email  
Prayer of Intercession: That we might recognise Jesus as the Messiah and choose to follow him more closely, Lord hear us…

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