This is a Society of lay people founded by a Galway woman Mrs. Olivia Taaffe in 1895. The Society fosters vocations to the priesthood and religious life by prayer and helps financially in the education of students for the priesthood.
As you know by now, we have a branch in the Parish for the past two years. We meet on the second Friday of each month at 8pm in the SMA House. We usually have an attendance of 12 members.
In March, four from the branch visited Maynooth College and met the clerical students from the diocese who showed them around the College. They had a very enjoyable day there, and they were very well entertained. They travelled by bus with members of the other branches in the diocese, accompanied by Fr Vivien Loughrey, St. Mary’s College and other priests.
On June 12th the Diocesan Committee organised a trip to Ballintubber Abbey as part of the Millennium celebration. A group from Claregalway and Carnmore represented our Branch. They visited the Foxford Mills and the visitor centre there. They had lunch in Foxford and continued their journey to Ballintubber Abbey. Fr Fahey, who gave them the history of the Abbey, met them. After that, they had Mass in the Abbey, celebrated by Fr Vivien Loughrey who accompanied them on the trip. After Mass, they went to the Celtic Furrow. This was a very interesting trip. The guides took them back to early Christianity and gave them a great insight into ancient times. Everyone enjoyed the stories and they reminded them of stories told to them by their parents.
There is an annual retreat held in Esker in September that eleven members attended. On November 17th several of our members attended a special mass in St. Mary’s College which was concelebrated by his Lordship Bishop James McLoughlin and the four newly ordained priests from the diocese. After Mass we were served a light meal and met the Bishop and the young priests.
The task of fostering religious vocations devolves on the entire Christian Community. Taking part in the work of the Society is one way in which lay people can respond to the task. The look to the future and to their children’s future. They want to hand on their faith and their love of the Mass for which priests will be needed. You can help the Society by coming along to the meetings.
The members of the Branch are very grateful to all the people who helped them during the year by paying an annual subscription and by praying for the spread of vocations. They are also very grateful to the SMA Fathers who give them a room for their meetings and help them in every way.
Last but not least, many thanks to our Spiritual Director Very Rev. Noel Mullin P.P. who attends all our meetings and encourages us in our work.