Seminarians (left, in white cassocks), priests and laypeople attend the Mass for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations at the Church of St Ignatius. Photo: CHURCH OF ST IGNATIUSSeminarians (left, in white cassocks), priests and laypeople attend the Mass for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations at the Church of St Ignatius. Photo: CHURCH OF ST IGNATIUS

The priesthood is the “mother of all vocations” because the priesthood generates other vocations for the Church, said Archbishop William Goh.

“Without the priest, who is going to give you the bread of life? Without the priest, who is going to heal you in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and empower you?” he asked during a Mass to mark the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

Speaking to Religious, seminarians and laypeople gathered at the Church of St Ignatius on April 16, he urged Catholics to pray for more priestly and Religious vocations, “otherwise the future of the next generation will be compromised”.

Archbishop Goh expressed his worry at the dwindling number of priestly vocations in the archdiocese, adding that the next bishop “is going to suffer” because of a lack of priests to manage parishes.

“You need to pray for vocations for the sake of your children,” he said.

In his opening remarks, Archbishop Goh said that the Mass, which also marked Good Shepherd Sunday, was not only for priestly and Religious vocations. “It is for everyone because everyone is called to serve God,” he said. “Be faithful to your vocation regardless of what vocation the Lord has appointed for you.”

In his homily, Archbishop Goh stressed that “all of us are leaders whether in the political world, religious world, or in society”.

Whether one is a teacher, parent, catechist or CEO, “a good leader first and foremost must be courageous” to “stand up for the right thing” and not just be politically correct, he said.

A good leader is also willing to make sacrifices for the greater good, and realises that he is only a steward of those
under his care, he added.

Seminarian Andre Tan, 32, who attended the event, told CatholicNews he felt the archbishop “spoke from his heart”.

“There will always be a shortage of vocations in this world,” said Br Andre, one of 11 diocesan seminarians. “What the bishop wants is for all Catholics to seriously discern their vocations, to take courage to say ‘yes’ to the call.”

Malaysian Br Vincent Thomas, 38, a final-year seminarian, shared that “we need people to pray for us ... in our struggles, in our darkest moments” such as for their studies, and family and personal issues.

When they know that someone is praying for them, “it strengthens our call”, he said.

By Christopher Khoo
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