Today the Catholic Church in Ireland launched a Year of Vocation which will run until the Fourth Sunday of Easter next year. The initiative is organised by a team representing Conference of Religious of Ireland, the Irish Bishops’ Conference, the Irish Missionary Union, St Joseph’s Young Priests Society, Vocations Ireland, the Knights of St Columbanus and lay personnel.
According to its website ( Your Vocation), the aim of the Year of Vocation is to raise awareness of the common vocation that we all share through baptism, as expressed through witness, love and service. Within each of these themes and throughout 2008-2009 the specific vocations of marriage, the religious life, the single life and priesthood will be highlighted and promoted.
A lot of the website seems to be still under construction (-well, whose isn’t?). In the Resources section, there are some very interesting statistics on priests and religious in Ireland. These are based on an extensive survey carried out for 2005. I was surprised to read that in 2005 (my Silver Jubilee year), there were eight religious order priests ordained in Ireland, whereas in 1980 we were seven ordained for the Passionists alone. You can find these statistics here