The annual Conference of Diocesan Vocations Directors and Promoters met at Ushaw College (Durham) between from October 28 to 31. Joining them were Bishop George Stack and representatives of various Religious Orders and the Conference of Religious. The agenda of the Conference was wide ranging. The recent opening of the National Office for Vocation was applauded as a significant sign of the commitment of the Bishops to supporting the promotion of vocations. The Conference agreed that it is important to move from a mentality of filling quotas, to a need to provide each individual with the space and resources to discern their vocation. There was opportunity for a sharing of the many Diocesan projects and activities that seek to promote both the awareness of the Baptismal calling of all, and specifically the vocations to Diaconate and Priesthood. The Conference recognised both the challenge to this work posed by an ever increasingly secular culture, as well as the many signs of life and vitality in our Church communities. An important concern of recent years has been to ensure that selection procedures for candidates for priesthood reflect the best practice, especially in regard to child protection. The Conference was grateful to Eileen Shearer, Director of the Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults (COPCA), who presented a report on the use of Criminal Records Bureau checks for new applicants. A redrafted text of the Application Forms that will be used nationally was approved, subject to final approval by the Bishops at their November meeting. The Conference expressed its thanks to Fr John Danson who stands down as Secretary after seven years. Fr Kevin Dring, Director of the National Office, was elected as the new Secretary, and Fr Eddie Claire, of Birmingham Diocese, was elected as Vice Chairman. Thanks was also recorded to Mgr Jim O'Keefe and the Ushaw Community for their warm welcome and hospitality. source: Catholic Communication Service
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