Creating a Vocations-Friendly Church in Aotearoa NZ. Overview …. Vocational un-awareness Vocations Culture - ‘Vocations Friendly’ Church Whose responsibility? Prevailing fears Challenge: Multi-Dimensional approach
Vocational un-awareness …
A Vocations Culture / ‘Vocations-friendly’ Church …
= a repeated motif of John Paul II throughout the last decade …
1st Continental Vocations Congress
(Sao Paolo, Brazil, 1994)
“We must create
a culture of vocations
in our Church ….”
(Message from JP II)
2nd Continental Vocations Congress –
Rome, 1997 …
The shortage of specific vocations is, above all, an absence of the vocational consciousness of life, or rather the absence of a culture of vocations .. .
A new culture of vocation is a component of the new evangelisation. It is a culture of life, and openness to life, and the meaning of life…
NVNE # 13
3rd Continental Vocations Congress – Montreal, 2002
CDM, Montreal, 2002, p 12
CDM , Montreal, 2002:….
… in order to engage the whole church in a commitment to creating a ‘Vocation Culture’, one must first recognise the primary vocation of each and every Christian: to life and love; holiness and discipleship; witness and service. All baptised Catholics share in this universal call; all must be assisted in the task of hearing it and giving it a full and committed response … CDM p42
A quantum leap:
‘Vocation-friendly Church’ !!
The fundamental pastoral challenge
is that of creating a ‘Vocation Culture’
(in the Church of North America):
a culture in which each Christian
is empowered to identify and respond to the mission to which he or she is called
as a member of the Body of Christ, in and for the world …
(CDM, Montreal 2002, pp 11 & 12)
(Archdiocese of Regina, Canada - www.archregina.sk.ca/VocationsCulture.htm )
A ‘Vocation Culture’ / Vocation-friendly Church is one in which each Christian is empowered to identify and respond to the mission to which he or she is called as a member of the Body of Christ, in and for the world
The promotion of vocations to ordained ministry and consecrated life cannot be understood in isolation from the universal baptismal call to holiness and service …
Every vocation is necessary and relative. There needs to be an ecclesial community … a vocational culture wherein every person can find their own vocation.
The ordained ministry exists to bring out all the other vocations in the church and all the other vocations are there to bring out the ordained ministries in reciprocal communion.
NVNE – Rome 1997
…Vocations to ordained ministry and consecrated life – and to single and married life, to lay ministry and Christian witness in a secular society – will flourish in a church where each member can identify and concretely live out the Father’s call to life and holiness, the Son’s call to discipleship and communion, and the Spirit’s call to witness and mission.
(CDM: Conversion, Discernment, Mission,
3rd Continental Vocations Congress, Montreal 2002, pp11&12)
Growing up - knowing about life-giving options …and considering each one seriously before choosing the one that will bring me fullness of life [in order that] …
Vocations Ministry …
Although vocations ministry begins with the more generic notion of the call to life and love, and gradually expands to include an explicit claiming of a call to holiness and a share in the mission of the Church, eventually it converges on a question that is specific:
sister or consecrated secular in this
specific congregation or institute? …
of this particular person? …
(CDM – Montreal 2002, p 83)
There are those who fear that widening the idea of vocation will be harmful to the specific promotion of vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life;
the reality is exactly the opposite. …
NVNE, Rome 1997 #26
The decline in any one vocation negatively impacts the whole body of the Church, and each of its constitutive members.
Similarly, attention to the growth
and development of one should lead to a vocational flourishing of all the vocations in the Church
CDM, Montreal, 2002 p56
notion of vocation
in no way trivializes it! …
CDM, Montreal 2002, p43
Faithful priests and religious need not feel threatened by the legitimate ministry and mission of lay people …
Co-operation, rather than competition is required, marked by mutual respect and complimentarity in the promotion of all vocations …
CDM, Montreal, 2002 p56
The aim [of creating a vocations-friendly Church] is discernment, not recruitment …
But, someone might object, won’t emphasising personal vocation distract people from heeding calls to the priesthood and consecrated life?
Won’t it make the real-life vocation shortage worse? …
The answer is no!! (cont …)
If many more Catholics practised ongoing discernment regarding their personal vocations, many more would discover that they are called to the priesthood or consecrated life.
The best solution to the dearth of new candidates [to consecrated and priestly life] – and to many other problems in contemporary Catholic life as well – is personal vocation.
Indeed, it may well be the only one!
Russell Shaw: “What Vocational Shortage” –
VocNET, Spring 2004
Only all of the gifts together can reveal the whole body of the Lord…
Every member of the Church,
has a responsibility for caring for vocations
NVNE, Rome 1997 #25
The vocational reality of the Church calls for a deep respect for the complimentarity and interdependence of all Church vocations.
Because the Church is at once community and communion of vocations,all its members need to be concerned and committed to the flowering of all vocations in the Church, and not merely their own. CDM, Montreal 2002, pp 46 &47
Think and act …
‘globally’ (i.e. nationally)
[Like Jesus] …those involved in pastoral work for vocations in groups, communities, parishes, schools and families need to be ...
These are the five dimensions
of the mystery of the call of God
NVNE, Rome, 1997
Full text @ UK Priest website:
Vocation-Friendly Church …
Bishops’ Conference & all clergy …
Congregational Leaders ~
all Religious Women & Men
Dioceses – Adult Faith Formators …
Parish Councils & Leaders…
Parishes cont …
Young Adult Ministry @
diocesan and parish levels …
CDM, Montreal, 2002, P 15
Young Adults cont …
“A priority for the pastoral action of the Church in North America over the next decade will be apreferential option for the young.
At present, decision-making in the Church – especially around the future of ordained ministry and consecrated life – is concentrated largely in the over-50 age group.
Even with the best intentions, the voices of younger Catholics are easily muted, their perspectives marginalised, their life-experience overlooked.”
CDM, Montreal 2002, p 61
Young Adults cont …
“Young adult delegates …
ask the Church -
especially those who serve
as consecrated women and men,
deacons and priests …
And they ask for a church community that welcomes and makes room for their idealism, gifts and considerable energy”
CDM, Montreal 2002, p 61
secondary levels …
Tertiary chaplaincy …
vocational awareness among staff and students?
Catholic media …
pre or post Vatican II?
Work towards a national approach to vocations ministry…
(* CVMA Statutes)
- Individual bishops
- Congregational leaders
- Some grassroots clergy &
workshops in between
-increase in VocNET circulation to 2400
-production of new printed resources & posters;
-donations and income-generating
activities sufficient to fund new projects
-expansion of OzVocations website –
huge increase in ‘visitors’ & ‘hits’
-exploration of young-adult connections
2005: appointment of .4 Administrative Officer: will free EO for many projects, including…
website material and resources …
Into the future cont …
- support/workshop vocations ministers
- meet bishops and congregational
leaders on ‘home turf’
- offer in-service & resources for RE teachers, youth ministers,
university chaplains, Serra clubs etc.
- liaise with regional Catholic media
The sky’s the limit!