Vocations Personnel Meet to plan a Future Full of Hope

07 Oct 2003


7 October 2003

Strictly embargoed until 5.00pm on Tuesday 7th October 2003


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 (7th Oct), 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.

7th October 2003

For further information contact:
Fr. Kevin Doran (01-8725014)