Fr Mark Cassidy, Dunkeld’s Vocations Director, led the Annual Vocations Mass in St Andrew’s Cathedral, Dundee. Priests and Religious came from across the diocese and were joined in prayer by representatives of schools and parishes. Canon Kevin Golden directed the Diocesan Choir which was accompanied at the organ by Sheriff Kevin Veal.
Scotland’s youngest priest, Fr Jean Gové, preached. Fr Jean was ordained in the Archdiocese of Malta earlier this year. He has come to Scotland to study at St Andrews University and is based with Fr Cassidy, serving the parishes of Immaculate Conception, Ss Leonard and Fergus and St Columba’s, Dundee.
Addressing the question about why we need priests, Fr Gové examined the role of the priesthood and what are qualities a priest should have. Rather than wise words of wisdom from long experience, he felt that he could simply share the naïvety idealism of his youth.
Quoting Pope Francis – Fr Gové said, “the priest must have the smell of the floor” – in other words, the priest must be prepared to get his hands dirty.
He is called to imitate Christ’s mission to be with the poor, the marginalised, the addict, the alcoholic, the prostitute and the unloved and to free them from the things that have captured them. The priest should speak up against injustice and lies in favour of truth and love. The priest is called to continue to carry out Christ’s mission – and that is to bring salvation to all mankind.
As to the ideal qualities for candidates for the priesthood, Fr Gové reflected on the human weakness of many priest and bishops, including the apostles themselves.
Above all, a candidate for the priesthood should be a man who is faithful. God does not call someone because of his merits, talents or capabilities – this is because God’s grace alone is sufficient. Let us pray for men who are faithful to the Gospels.
Perhaps is good to remind ourselves from time to time of our naïve idealism!