Charity registration No. SC002876  
Sunday April 21st. 2013
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,  Jesus’ words in today’s gospel, “The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me”, encourages us all to listen attentively to his voice. In doing so we become more and more aware of how much he loves us and wishes us to follow him and grow in love of him. In a particular way he calls some to follow him as priests, deacons and religious, and on Good Shepherd Sunday especially the Church promotes this call, praying earnestly that those who are listening will hear the Lord’s call and will respond accordingly.  Christ's call for vocations never ceases On Vocations Sunday 2008, in his final year as Bishop of the Diocese of Argyll, Bishop Ian Murray made a special appeal for vocations to the priesthood. One of those who heard this appeal was Tony Wood, who had been giving some thought to becoming a priest over a number of years. On hearing Bishop Ian’s words Tony found the courage to respond and came forward to offer himself as a potential candidate for the priesthood in the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles. Having completing a year of preparation and discernment Tony proceeded to undertake his seminary training in the Beda College in Rome, and will be ordained a priest this summer in St Columba’s Cathedral on 3rd July. An appeal from the bishop On this Vocations Sunday 2013 I make a similar appeal for any men who have thought at times that the Lord is calling them to be priests to follow in Tony’s footsteps and offer themselves as potential candidates. The first step on this challenging, but rewarding, journey is to speak to your parish priest as soon as possible and share with him your awareness of the Lord’s call and your desire to respond to it. Answering the call of Christ in today’s world It is probable that people will say that this is a difficult time to be thinking of becoming a priest, but it is often in times of crisis that the Lord does call and that those called find the courage to respond. I think back to 1996, a couple of weeks after Bishop Wright had resigned and our Diocese appeared to be in turmoil. I, as Diocesan Vocations Director, met a young man in Glasgow who expressed his wish to be become a priest in this Diocese. I am happy to say that his wish has been fulfilled and he has been a priest in the Diocese for a number of years. In difficult moments, when the faithful may face opposition or when morale is low, the Lord does call and the brave men who hear this call do come forward
to give their lives to him so that they can bring the Lord’s solace and compassion to his people.  Despite past failings, there is always new hope Although we have our trials and disappointments to face there is always movement in the life of the Church and new beginnings which lift our spirits and give us fresh hope – our celebration of Easter each year gives us that sense of joy in the Lord’s resurrection and renews our hope in the workings of his grace in and among us. This Easter we have had the added joy of welcoming our new Holy Father, Pope Francis I, and we have felt uplifted both by his words and his gestures. His choice of name recalls the memory of St Francis of Assisi and his dramatic effect on the Church of his day, both through his own prophetic life and preaching, and also through the thousands of young men who chose to follow him as Franciscans in his own life time and in the centuries since then. We might add also the young women who have chosen to follow his friend St Clare in giving themselves to the Lord in contemplative religious life. Example of the saints Pope Francis is also a member of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuit Order, whose founder was St Ignatius of Loyola. Like St. Francis, he lived in a time of crisis for the Church as the Protestant Reformation spread across Europe, but again thousands of young men were inspired by him and his companions to give their lives and to sacrifice everything for the glory of God and the preaching of the Catholic faith to the ends of the earth. There is example and inspiration there for us also and the hope that young men today will respond to the Lord’s call with equal generosity of spirit and self-sacrifice for love of the Lord Jesus.  May they be inspired also by the words of Paul and Barnabas in                    today’s passage from the Acts of the Apostles: >>>>>>>>>>
A Letter from Bishop Toal “The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. Pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send more labourers into the Harvest”
Vocations Sunday