Archbishop Eamon Martin has offered special prayers for the men and women of Ireland who have dedicated themselves in religious life to God.
The Archbishop, speaking in Knock at the weekend at the Assumption Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also offered prayers for young people across the Ireland who have just received their A-Level and Leaving Certificate Results.
And he asked people to pray one Hail Mary over the next fifty days between now and the General Assembly of bishops in Rome, and dedicate their prayer to the family.
He said: “During this Year of Consecrated Life I want to pay tribute to the women and men of Ireland who have chosen to ‘lose something of themselves’ by consecrating their lives totally to God as members of Ireland’s religious congregations of Sisters, Brothers or priests, and generously professing lives of poverty, chastity and obedience.
“Although their numbers are smaller today, our ‘religious’ still make an immense contribution to Ireland, and to the world, by living their particular apostolates and charisms, including in education, healthcare, prison chaplaincy, working with the marginalised and forgotten, in inter-Church work, care of the elderly and helping those with special needs.
“O God we thank you for calling each one of us to follow you more closely. We thank you especially for the witness of those among us who have chosen a vocation to the consecrated life.
He said he invited the faithful of every age to participate in a ‘Rosary of Prayer’ over the next fifty days in preparation for the Synod on the Family.
“I encourage everyone to pray even one Hail Mary - and to dedicate their prayer to the family - over each of the fifty days between now and the Synod,” he said. Last autumn the Extraordinary Synod in Rome focussed on the challenges facing the family all around the world today. This October the Synod will look in particular at discerning the vocation of the family today and reflecting on the family’s mission. I ask people to pray that the Synod will be able to offer the Church, and the world, pastoral initiatives to encourage renewed efforts in sharing the joy of the Gospel in our daily lives.”
He said his thoughts were also for the many young people in Ireland who received their Leaving Cert or A-Level results.
“I hope and pray that they will find joy, hope and fulfilment in whatever path God shows them in their life,” he added.