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Friday, October 28, 2016
Irish vocation directors plan 'a future of hope'
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 Vocations personnel from 20 Irish dioceses are taking part this week in a four day workshop at Dundrum, Co. Tipperary. "The workshop has two purposes" explained Fr Kevin Doran, national co-ordinator. "We want to begin the process of developing a national strategy for vocations promotion, and we also want to discuss how we can work in partnership with those who contact us, to help them to explore what God wants of them. There is a perception out there" he said "that vocations directors are anxious to get people into seminaries at all costs. The opposite is the case. In these times of shortage, we have to be more careful than ever to make sure that mature decisions are made in the light of faith." The keynote speaker at the conference is Fr Dave Hulshof, up to recently President of the NCDVD (the association of diocesan vocations directors of the United States). During his presentation on Tuesday, he shared with the Irish vocations directors some of the principal insights which arose from the very successful North American Continental Congress on Vocations which took place last year in Montreal. Speaking about a change in the focus of vocation ministry, Fr Hulshof said: "We have moved from a model of vocation ministry that has been geared toward recruitment to one that acknowledges our place as vocations directors in the longer journey with candidates; offering skills and opportunities for discernment, prayer etc. The new paradigm of vocation ministry will flow from five areas, namely to pray, to evangelise, to experience, to mentor, and then to invite." The north American congress was an exercise of participation on the part of the whole Church in the United States and Canada, involving young and old, men and women, lay people, clergy, and religious. "It is essential" said Fr Doran "that every member of the Irish Church sees himself or herself as called by God, and recognises that part of our own Baptismal vocation is that we become together a Church that listens and a Church that calls." Other speakers at the workshop included: Fr Donal Neary SJ, on personality types and their implication for vocational decision making. Fr Vincent Twomey SVD, on re-discovering the vision of priesthood in the Ireland of the 21st century. Dr Johanna Merry, who will explore with vocations directors, how people can be helped to recognise the all of God through a gentle but honest reflect on their life's journey. Mr Ronan Mullen, who conducted a workshop on constructive engagement of vocations personnel with local communications media. This Autumn, seventeen men responded to the call to diocesan priesthood in Ireland, beginning their studies at St Patrick's College, Maynooth, The Irish College Rome, St Malachy's College, Belfast, and the Pontifical Beda College, Rome. Source: Communications Office, Irish Bishops Conference
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