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Thursday, December 8, 2016
US Church launches new vocations programme
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¬†A new programme launched by the US Bishops' Committee on Vocations is meant to renew priests' sense of vocational fulfilment and to encourage them to draw on that satisfaction and invite other men to pursue the priesthood. The Priestly Life and Vocation Summit: Fishers of Men programme is designed to get priests to step back from their daily lives and reflect on the many positive reasons they pursued their vocations, to discuss those reasons with their brother priests, and ultimately to share those reasons with other men with an invitation to the priesthood. "At the basis of the Fishers of Men programme is the conviction that there is a close connection between priests regenerating their appreciation of their own priestly vocation and the creation of an environment in which men are actively invited to respond to God's call to the priesthood," said Bishop Blase Cupich of Rapid City (SD), the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Vocations. Research done for the Vocations Committee indicates that an invitation from a priest is one of the most effective ways of having a man consider the priesthood. Of seminarians ordained in 2003, 78 percent said that a priest had invited them to consider the priesthood. A 2001 USCCB survey, however, indicated that only 30 percent of priests actively invite men to consider the priesthood. Father Edward J Burns, executive director of the USCCB's Secretariat for Vocations and Priestly Formation, said that while the Fishers of Men programme is designed to be easily adapted to meet the particular needs of different dioceses, it generally includes four phases. Phase one involves agreement to conduct the programme and preparing for a convocation ≠ or summit ≠ of the diocese's priests. Phase two includes interviews with a broad sampling of the priests in a diocese, the results of which will be presented at the summit. Interview questions are intended to elicit responses that will reveal things like: what prompted the priest to consider a vocation; his hopes and excitement in pursing his vocation; those moments or experiences that nurture his relationship with God; moments or experiences when he profoundly felt he was serving in the person of Jesus; what about his vocation does he value most. Phase three is the Summit, during which the assembled priests will reflect further on the questions asked in the interview phase, share with one another their responses, and discuss ways to share their renewed sense of contentment with other men who might be thinking about a vocation to the priesthood. Phase four of the programme is the ongoing follow up to the Summit and involves the development of a strategy for keeping priests actively engaged in inviting men to consider a vocation to the priesthood. An extensive resource kit prepared by the Vocations Secretariat includes everything a diocese needs to implement the programme has been sent to all 195 dioceses in the United States. The kit also includes a trailer for a Fishers of Men video that can be incorporated into the Summit programmeme. Produced by Grassroots Film of Brooklyn, NY, the fast-paced video shows many of the facets of a priest's daily life. Bishop Cupich summed up the Priestly Life and Vocations Summit: Fishers of Men programme by saying that "its purpose is twofold: renew in us priests and bishops an awareness of how treasured the gift of priesthood is and what it means in each of our lives; and to encourage us all, inspired by this renewal, to urge other men to consider the vocation which we have received as a gift." Source: USCCB
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