Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday and World Day of Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood and Consecrated Life.
As I write to you our Diocese is busy preparing our contribution for the Synod on Synodality which will take place in Rome next year. In preparation, Pope Francis has asked all of us, clergy and laity, to consider how we see ourselves as members of the Church and how we can all play our part in its mission of bringing Jesus to others.
For Pope Francis the idea of synodality is quite straight forward. It is not about creating more structures in the Church but simply is the experience of us all ‘walking together’ in faith, hope and love.
In a world characterized by individualism, the Synod asks how we, as a People of faith, can be examples of walking together more closely, more lovingly and more eagerly in the footsteps of the Lord.
The Synod will also think about how we can accompany the people of our time who are yearning for a more beautiful, good and true world.
The priesthood itself, at its best, is about walking together and accompanying. Every day our priests accompany us as a people in our diocese through the journey of our lives. From birth to death, in our joys and losses, from despair to hope, our priests are there with us, accompanying us as we follow our path of discipleship. They open up God’s Word for us, they nourish us with the Sacraments and they lead us in love and charity along the way of life. Their walking with us brings us the fire of faith and the light of hope.
Today I call upon our young people to think about being part of this wonderful mission, and of considering the great ‘adventure’ of the priesthood by simply ‘walking with’ and ‘accompanying’ God’s pilgrim people.
As things return to normality, please continue to pray for the priests of our diocese. I know they pray for you daily as they offer the Sacraments to you and your families. They are our ‘Good Shepherds’ in our communities today and I pray that their example will inspire around them, both young men to serve the Lord in the priesthood and diaconate and men and women to give their lives to Him in the consecrated life.
I entrust all of you to Jesus, the Good Shepherd Who guides us all together through the journey of life, and to Our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Paisley, the Bright Star, who is beside us all the way to our blessed end.
With every blessing.