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Paisley vocations head says New Year calls for new priests

A leading Scottish priest has urged more young Scots to make a New Year’s resolution and sign up for the priesthood – as the number of Scots entering seminary continues to increase

Fr John Morrison, assistant national director of Vocations for Scotland, watched with delight last year as 12 men were ordained into the priesthood in Scotland—the highest number in 20 years—and even more are beginning the road to the priesthood in 2018.

He believes 2017 was a great year of celebration for vocations in Scotland but believes the momentum must continue and has urged young men to listen to their conscience and sign up for seminary life.

“It’s very important that we build on the success from 2017,” Fr Morrison, parish priest at St Fergus’ in Paisley, said. “If there are any young men out there thinking about a life in vocations I would encourage them to look at the priests they may already know and look at just how happy they are in the priesthood.

“The best vocations strategy we can have here in Scotland is showing young men who are thinking about the priesthood just how rewarding it can be and how happy we are—look at how happy and fulfilled they are in their ministry.

“Priests are priests because they love doing it. The way for us to get more priests is to transmit that joy and vitality.

“In 2017 we had 12 new priests ordained which is the most we have had in 20 years, it was a fantastic year for vocations.

“In the New Year we are looking to build on that momentum and I know we will have 14 young men starting out into their journeys in the priesthood in Salamanca, which is a great start to the New Year.

“When young people see other young men stepping up to become priests it starts a momentum and they think, ‘If he is giving it a go then why not me?’

“So the more young men coming forward in the New Year to even look into the possibility of becoming a priest is a great step forward and builds on a fantastic year for vocations in Scotland during 2017.”

Last year Fr Morrison witnessed one ordination for his diocese—Paisley—as Fr Jonathan Whitworth was welcomed to the priesthood by Bishop John Keenan at St Andrew’s Church in Greenock on June 30.

“Becoming a priest gives young men a chance to use their God-given gifts to help other people and is incredibly rewarding,” Fr Morrison said. “If it is for you, you will be happy, there is no doubt about that.

“The young men we have coming forward these days are extremely dedicated and very focused on what they are doing, that’s the biggest thing I have noticed about them.

“They are very serious about their vocation, in the best possible way.

“We have such a lot of priests in Scotland who are great examples to young men who may be considering dedicating their lives to vocations, that is definitely pulling a lot of young men in, which is great.

“Every time I talk to an applicant or someone just enquiring about the priesthood, I always ask them what made them come forward.

“The answer I get is always the same without fail: it’s because of the example they have witnessed from a priest they already know.”

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