Let’s inaugurate a season of renewal for the Church in Ireland and faced with the lack of vocations, let’s pray the Lord sends the country holy priests.
Pope Francis expressed his hope during his weekly General Audience this morning, Aug. 29, held in St. Peter’s Square, as he reflected on his Aug. 25-26, Apostolic Visit to Ireland, for the occasion of the 9th World Meeting of Families in Dublin.
This wish, the Roman Pontiff suggested, will be achievable if the failures of the past are remedied with honesty and courage, the Lord’s promises are trusted and the Irish people’s profound faith is counted on.
Reminding that his two-day trip was to above all confirm Christian families in their vocation and mission, he stressed: “My visit to Ireland, in addition to great joy, also had to bear the pain and bitterness for the suffering caused in that country by various forms of abuse, even by members of the Church, and the fact that the ecclesiastical authorities in the past have not always been able to deal appropriately with these crimes.”
The meeting with the eight survivors of abuse, he said, left a profound sign, noting,“on several occasions, I have asked the Lord for forgiveness for these sins, for the scandal and the sense of betrayal procured.”
The Irish Bishops, he said, have embarked “on a serious path of purification and reconciliation with those who have suffered abuse.”
With the help of national authorities, he noted, they have established a series of strict rules to ensure the safety of the young.
Pope Francis recalled that during his meeting with the country’s bishops, he encouraged them in their efforts “to remedy the failures of the past with honesty and courage, trusting in the promises of the Lord and counting on the profound faith of the Irish people, to inaugurate a season of renewal of the Church in Ireland.”
“In Ireland, there is faith, there are people of faith with great roots, but do you know something?” the Pope asked. “There are few vocations to the priesthood.”
“And why is that?,” namely the scandals and other great problems, he said.
“Hence, we pray that the Lord send new priests and reinforce the faith of this people,” he said, noting, let us pray a Hail Mary to Our Lady of Knock for this.
“Lord Jesus send us holy priests!”