St Anne's & St Joseph's RC Parish

——  Accrington • Diocese of Salford  ——

St Anne's & St Joseph's
RC Parish

—  Accrington • Diocese of Salford  —


Vocation Thoughts

I believe the “fluffy lambs” approach to the Good Shepherd has not served us well. We tend to get lost in Christ’s parable of the lost sheep carried home over the shoulder by the shepherd who went to find him. It all too cosy and European. This is the Middle East. Shepherds lived in rough and stoney landscapes and lead their sheep from the front from place to place in search of pasture and water. “Fresh and green are the pastures where He gives me repose; near restful waters He leads me”. Middle Eastern Shepherds didn’t have huge flocks. They knew them all be name and called to them as they walked ahead. From this, it follows that the call of the Good Shepherd is basically very simple. Every single day He calls me by name to follow Him and He will look after me.

Having said that, our experience individually and corporately is that is not quite as simple as that sounds. He knows me by name, so His purpose for me is individual and unique. He calls me to follow Him, and the path He proposes to each sheep is as different as every sheep is, one from another. Nevertheless, He calls each Christian to follow Him along the path through this world to heaven.

Marxist- Leninist Russia or Mao’s China, wanted everyone to be the same, dress the same, think the same, obey the same, never question and die for the fatherland whenever called upon to do so. Christ’s flock could not be more different.  Every lamb and sheep is different, uniquely loved and uniquely called. They are a flock, but not mindless automata, lined up in rows, identical and interchangeable.

It has been so from the beginning. When Christ chose the 12 Apostles, He selected them from among the group of followers He already had. One of those not chosen on that occasion, Matthias would be selected to fil the vacancy left by Judas Iscariot. There is the select group of wealthy women, who support the group financially. But there were other women, like Mary Magdalene or Martha & Mary of Bethany. All different, all loved at great cost, and all called to follow in a particular way, unique to each of them.

This Sunday we are all asked to think and pray about what Christ’s call means to me. Have I listened? Have I run away? Is He calling me to something new? This Sunday of the Good Shepherd has another function. It asks us to think and pray as a community about the vocations the Church itself needs. We need religious men and women consecrated to prayer and service. We need a small number of Bishops. We need a much greater number of Deacons and Priests to be parish clergy and chaplains of various kinds. We must ask ourselves whether we stifle the vocations of men and women, by telling them not to throw their lives away in a seminary or a novitiate. We want more priests and deacons, but do we support and pay for them? We want them, but not from our parish, our school or our family. We tell ourselves that the Bishop must send us these people, (as if he had a supply at Wardley Hall). If we want priests to serve our parishes then we have to raise them up ourselves, nurture them and appreciate them. They are for this flock, and they come from this flock. We must listen very carefully not only what God is calling us to individually but to what He saying to our parish and diocese. We must make a deliberate effort to grow and support new deacons and priests, in our parish, our family, through our FHC classes and religious organisations like UCM, the SVP, the KSC and so on. ” Here I am, send somebody else” is not the right response to the Good Shepherd’s call.

Across the Diocese each month a Mass is celebrated for vocations to the Ordained Ministry and to Religious Life. Our hearts and our money must be in complete accord with what we are asking God to provide, lest we fail to water the seeds He plants or mistake a weed for the vocation we wanted. My God grant us many holy and faithful vocations to the Priesthood and the Diaconate, to continue his work long after I’m pushing up daisies.  


St Anne’s, Cobham Road,
Accrington, BB5 2AD.
Tel: 01254 232 920

St Joseph’s, Belgarth Road,
Accrington, BB5 6AH.


Rev Fr Francis Wadsworth (parish priest)
Rev Fr Robert Livesey (retired)

Parish Administrator

Mrs Siobhan Wood
Tel: 01254 232 920

Office Hours

Mon: 8:30am to 12:30pm
Tues, Thurs: 8:30am to 1:30pm