“….it is the love of Christ that fills our hearts and impels us to evangelize. Today as in the past he sends us through the highways of the world to proclaim his Gospel to all the peoples of the earth (cf. Mt 28:19) Porta Fidei. no 7.
The image which Pope Benedict XVI uses of the ‘the highways of the world’ (Lk 14:15-24) reminds us that the Church is continually changing. Families are moving from towns to cities for work and city parishes have changed significantly due to immigration. Perhaps without immigration these city parishes would be struggling. The blessing of immigration may not have an impact on the Church in New Zealand in relation to priestly vocations until they become more established. Kiwi born seminarians from migrant families, according to Bishop Pat Dunn of Auckland commenting in a recent NZ Catholic (October 21 – November 3, 2012), are few at all. But in the future this could become a fruitful source for vocations, as long as these families don’t become too secular, influenced by New Zealand society and lose their Catholic culture and traditions.
Future priests will be challenged to find new ways to evangelize. There will always be a need for more priests to go out into the highways of the world to proclaim the Gospel; the same need in every generation to encourage and foster vocations, particularly to the diocesan priesthood. Pope Benedict makes this same point in his conversation with seminarians. “It does make sense to become a priest: the world needs priests, pastors, today, tomorrow and always, until the end of time.” (Letter of His Holiness Benedict XVI to Seminarians 18th October 2010)
‘The harvest in rich but the labourers are few.’ We know the need is great. We pray during the Year of Faith for the grace to bear fruit especially for more vocations to the priesthood.
Kind regards and God bless
Father Eamon Kennedy
8th November 2012