In a pastoral letter, the bishop addresses the crisis in vocations, calling on the faithful to do all they can to pray for more priests

Catholics should pray that God calls a football player to the priesthood the next time they watch a match, the Bishop of Portsmouth has said.

In a pastoral letter due to be read out on Sunday, Bishop Philip Egan addresses the crisis in vocations, calling on the faithful to do all they can to pray for more priests.

“When was the last time your parish, your school, your family produced a priest?” the bishop asks. “We are short of priests, but priests do not come out of thin air. They come from prayer and fasting. Please pray for more priests.

“Why not say the Rosary for this intention? Or offer up your Friday abstinence? Or if you watch a football match, ask God to call one of the players or one of the fans?”

Bishop Egan also encourages Catholics to ask: “What is God asking of me?”

“He wants us to go out, sharing our faith with family, friends and all we meet. More, He wants us to be a creative minority in society, to transform the world. Drawing strength from Him in the Eucharist, He wants us to be agents of change, building a Kingdom of justice, truth and peace, serving the poor and needy.”

The letter also reiterates Bishop Egan’s ten points for Catholics to ask ahead of the General Election.

“First, and foremost, how far will this or that candidate protect the sacred dignity of each human life from conception to natural death, opposing moves to liberalise the abortion laws, to extend embryo experimentation and to legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia?”