The Year of Vocation was an initiative launched in May '08 by the Irish Catholic Church to encourage all to pray for light to discern and deepen our dedication to our own personal vocation
Whilst no one particular vocation was the core of this project, most folk I know spoke of having the Priesthood and Religious Life in mind and the need in Ireland for good, holy priests and for religious sister and brothers. Since the project aimed to embrace all Vocations and hence all people, I deemed it to be a worthwhile exercise and pledged my support.
I took a prayer card just before the year started and placed it into my prayer book, determined to offer the prayer for vocations frequently during this special year. I am glad to be able to say that I stayed true to that promise and recited the prayer many times over the course of the year. Perhaps there were many times the actual words of the prayer escaped me but they most certainly did not escape Heaven. When I look back to May 08 and compare it with May 09 I can only say that prayer indeed works miracles becuase my life has taken a dramatic turn over the past few months.
In May of 08, the only thing on my mind was preparing my 3rd and 6th year classes for the state exams. A Junior Cert class for Mathematics and a Leaving Cert class for Chemistry. it was a normal wind down towards the summer holidays and the annual change of the guard from full time teacher and part-time Dad to full time Dad with the teacher hat packed away with the books. The summer was as usual with an excellent week long holiday in Killarney.
In December of that same year, 08, I was alerted to the fact that Bishop James Moriarty had decided to kick start the process for inviting men to consider service, through the Permanent Diaconate, in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. My Diocese!!! This was indeed a heart stopping moment. something that was just too good to be true for I already knew that Dublin had opened the doors the previous year and had wondered if the fact that I was teaching in Dublin would be reason enough to be considered as a candidate in the archdiocese and after an inital contact all was lost again through my own fault.
I did not expect Kildare and Leighlin to follow suit so quickly but they did. A brief notice appeared on the back page of our Newsletter the week after and we were told to make contact with a Priest in our Parish. After some time and prayer I finally managed to put together a letter to my PP. Now being a Maths and Science teacher for 18 years has rid me of all ability to construct prose and I have been reduced to a creature of symbols. That was a challenge in itself!! On the 3rd of December I received a call from my PP who was most gracious in taking the time to discuss my interest and instructed me to make contact with Carlow. This was the official beginning of My Journey to Service.