Vocations Awareness Week: Mass at St David's, Dalkeith

Holy Mass was celebrated at St David's Parish in Dalkeith on Monday to launch Vocations Awareness week

It was celebrated by Fr Andrew Garden, parish priest of St David's and our Director of Vocations, who was joined by Fr Paul Lee, of St Agatha's in Methil.

Aso there were several seminarians from the Archdiocese who are preparing to return to Rome later this month to continue their studies at The Pontifical Scots College.

Pray for Priests

Every year, the Church in Scotland sets aside a week in which we are all asked to reflect on our vocation within the Christian family, a vocation which flows from our shared Baptismal vocation to grow in holiness and in service of others.

This year we are asked to reflect on the meaning and importance of the Eucharist.

We pray that we will always have sufficient priests to offer Holy Mass for and with us and parish communities rooted in the Eucharist and in the faith that Jesus is with us, really present, when we come together.

A message to those discerning

Sr Mirjam Hugens FSO, our Director of Religious Vocations, said: "I would like to encourage you to take some time this week to think and pray about your future.

"You might be busy studying or working right now, but where is the Lord leading you to? What plan does He have in store for you?

"Do you find it scary to think that the Lord might be calling you to follow Him more closely as a priest, or as a religious sister or brother? The founder of the order I am part of, Mother Julia Verhaeghe, said, ‘The Lord wants your happiness and we do too!”

"Feel free to contact me or Fr Andrew Garden if you like to chat about your plans, your questions or worries. Discerning what the Lord might be saying to you is not so easy, so we are here to help. It is worth exploring an we are here to help.

Interested in the priesthood? Contact Fr Andrew Garden on 0131 663 4286 or at  vocations@staned.org.uk. For the religious life contact Sr Mirjam Hugens on 0131 623 8902 or at religiousvocations@staned.org.uk

WATCH: Bobby and Martin prepared for priesthood!

Deacon Bobby Taylor will be ordained a priest of our Archdiocese this month! He will be followed in July by his friend Deacon Martin Eckersley.

We spoke to both men to find out more about their preparations ahead of this life-changing event in the below video.

Explore the call to priesthood or religious life. Talk to your parish priest or contact: Sr Mirjam Hugens FSO | 0131 623 8902 | religiousvocations@staned.org.uk; Fr Andrew Garden | 0131 663 4286 | vocations@staned.org.uk

VIDEO: Explore God's will for YOU

Archbishop Cushley has sent a message to those who may be considering a vocation to the priesthood or religious life: Don't be afraid, explore it!

He recorded a video ahead of World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which is this Sunday (25 April). Watch it below.

To find out more about the priesthood or religious life, contact our vocation directors:

Read: St Joseph: The Dream of Vocation

WATCH: Feast of the Annunciation - Explore Your Vocation

On this Feast Day of the Annunciation, Fr Andrew Garden invites you to follow the example of Our Lady and and trust in God's holy will for us.

Explore the call. Talk to your parish priest or contact: Sr Mirjam Hugens FSO | 0131 623 8902 | religiousvocations@staned.org.uk; Fr Andrew Garden | 0131 663 4286 | vocations@staned.org.uk

WATCH: Explore Your Vocation in Lent

During Lent, Sr Mirjam Hugens invites you to draw closer to the Lord to discern His will for you. It may be a vocation to the priesthood or religious life.


Explore the call. Talk to your parish priest or contact: Sr Mirjam Hugens FSO | 0131 623 8902 | religiousvocations@staned.org.uk; Fr Andrew Garden | 0131 663 4286 | vocations@staned.org.uk

Q&A: 'Jesus never takes, He only gives'

This week we're highlighting vocations to the religious life to celebrate World Day of Consecrated Life, which was on Tuesday.

Fr Simon Willis (31) from Stirling, was the first Scottish priest to be ordained into the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) in 2018. He is rector of the Junior Seminary at Montefiascone in Italy. We asked him about his experience of religious life and advice for those considering a vocation to it. Check out all our Q&As this week on our Facebook.

Describe the religious life in three words.
Commitment, freedom, hundredfold.

Favourite thing about the religious life?
St John Berchmans once said that community life was his greatest penance. Obviously living in community is an essential element of being a religious and of course it implies a bit of sacrifice, yet for me the pros far outweigh the cons. It is only through community life that I have been able to witness and be inspired by firsthand examples of great virtue and love for Our Lord. It is only through community life that I have been able to receive such invaluable guidance from superiors, spiritual directors etc. It is only through community life that I have been able to make such great and lasting friendships. There is a reason why the psalmist says, "How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

Most challenging aspect?
From a merely human perspective the religious life is an enormous challenge because it implies an obvious renouncing of oneself. I obviously miss certain home comforts: not being able to see my family when I want and for how long I want, my country, the golf course, fry-ups and fish suppers, my free time etc.

Advice for someone considering a religious vocation?
In the religious life one truly experiences what Jesus promises to Peter who asks him “We have left everything and followed you. What then shall we have?” Jesus makes him this great promise: “there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time.”

The call to the religious life may seem like the Lord is asking us too much, that we are going to lose out somehow if we answer him, to leave everything behind that we hold dear is too great a sacrifice.

Yet, we must be sure that Jesus never takes, he only gives. If you are generous with him then he will be abundantly generous with you as he is always faithful to his promises. Leaving all like Peter did to follow Christ means gaining all. So my advice to anyone considering the religious life is to be generous with Jesus, because by being generous you will be abundantly happy in this life and “in the age to come eternal life.”  What more could you ask for?

See all Q&As on our Facebook. If you want to chat about the religious life, please contact our Religious Vocations Director Sr Mirjam Hugens religiousvocations@staned.org.uk; 0131 623 8902. To find out more about the Institute of the Incarnate Word, visit ive.org.

EVENT: Vocations Mass this Monday

We need YOU to pray for vocations. To help you do this we host a Mass for Vocations each month to pray that men and women across the Archdiocese will respond to the call to explore the priesthood and religious life.

Mass for Vocations, 6:30pm, Monday 07 Dec, St Columba's Church, 9 Upper Gray Street, Edinburgh EH9 1SN
(Eucharistic Adoration from 5:30pm)

The Mass will be celebrated by Father Andrew Garden, our Director of Vocations. Also attending will be Sister Mirjam Hugens FSO, our director for religious vocations (pictured below).

Can't come? Please say our vocations prayer now or at 6:30pm on Monday 07 December

Heavenly Father, in your mercy you give to your people every good gift.

We turn to you in faith, asking that you bless our Archdiocese with vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

Inspire us with your Holy Spirit to help young men and women hear your call and respond with joyful hearts.

Bless our young people with the gift of courage to respond to your call.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

To find out more about vocations in our Archdiocese, contact: Father Andrew on 0131 663 4286, vocations@staned.org.uk or Sister Mirjam on 0131 623 8902, religiousvocations@staned.org.uk

Main image: seminarians at the Pontifical Scots College in Rome (including Deacons Martin Eckersley, left, and Bobby Taylor, second left). We will pray for them all during the Vocations Mass.

Sr Maria's advice for people considering the religious life

Farewell to Sister Maria Guadalupe RSM (Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma), who returns to the US today after spending the past year in our Archdiocese at St Andrew's Church in Ravelston

In this video she tells us about her time in Scotland, advice for people considering a vocation (at 1 min 50secs) and what's next in store for her.

Interested in the priesthood or religious life? Have a chat with one of our vocations directors:

WATCH: Religious sister shares her vocations story

A religious sister of the Archdiocese has shared her vocation story to encourage young men and women to consider serving God in the priesthood or religious life

Sister Mirjam Hugens speaks candidly of her own questions and doubts in making the decision and states 'trust in the Lord!".

She said: "He needs your hands, your voice, your talents, to bring Him to others. Be generous and know that the Lord cannot be outdone in generosity

The video is part of the Archdiocese's week-long vocations drive, following the World Day of Prayer for Vocations on Sunday. It includes a message from Archbishop Cushley, a vocations Mass streamed on Facebook last night and a call for Catholics to pray for vocations.

Explore the call. Talk to your parish priest or contact: Sr Mirjam Hugens FSO | 0131 623 8902 | religiousvocations@staned.org.uk; Fr Andrew Garden | 0131 663 4286 | vocations@staned.org.uk

Archbishop's message for World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Archbishop Cushley has praised the hard work and 'wonderful example' of priests and deacons in the diocese on the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

He called on Catholics across St Andrews & Edinburgh to pray for our priests and religious as well as those who want to "dedicate their lives to the Lord".

His comments came in his homily at Mass for the fourth Sunday of Easter. Read the full homily below, or watch the homily in the video (skip to 7:36).


Homily, Archbishop Leo Cushley
World Day of Prayer for Vocations, 03 May 2020

"Today, the fourth Sunday of Easter, is always called Good Shepherd Sunday, also known as Vocations Sunday, because we listen to a part of St John's Gospel, where Jesus describes himself in various ways.

"But the key element is that he describes Himself as the Good Shepherd. He describes Himself this way because He dedicates His whole life to the Father's will and He will lay down His life for all of us, his sheep.

"We call our Bishops and priests shepherds too in honour, I think, of the lifelong dedication and self-giving that we expect from all our clergy.

"So today is a moment to thank God for them, for their service, and to pray for them, and to pray for vocations to the priesthood.

"Right now, the work of us, your shepherds, has been curtailed somewhat and made much more complicated by the lockdown. But your priests are still praying and offering Mass for you.

"They are still visiting hospitals and giving the comfort of the last rites to those who are at the close of their lives, whether they are suffering from Covid-19 or not.

"I hope the authorities will continue to take steps to protect the clergy of all the churches...those who wish to serve everyone about them as shepherd and not to let them abandon their people in their time of need.

"So today, let’s take a moment to pray for our priests and to pray for the young men and women who wish to dedicate their lives to the Lord.

"Not everyone is called to that kind of commitment but I know good men and women in our own diocese who wish to give their whole lives to God. They are very impressive and it’s great to see.

"Let’s remember them and thank God for their wonderful and inspired example. God bless you and keep each other safe."