Friday, July 28, 2006

Where there's a will there's a way!

Who says vocations promotion has to consist of small groups sitting on uncomfortable chairs staring awkwardly at a candle in an untidy and cramped presbytery room somewhere? If we want to attract normal young men to the priesthood then we have to do normal things with them! This was brought home to me recently by a visit from two priests Fr Nicolas and Fr Pablo who work in the same parish in Spain. They have been in England on holiday. Fr Nicolas, who also teaches at the seminary in Madrid, spends his holiday looking after a small parish near central London giving its parish priest a chance to get away each summer. But instead of coming alone he brings with him a mixture of seminarians and young men from the parish who might possibly have a vocation to the priesthood. In the mornings the lads go to a language school on Oxford Street and in the afternoon they have a chance to visit the sights of London. They do this in the context of daily Mass and opportunities for prayer, observing the work of the priest from close quarters. Over the years it has proved a simple and effective method of getting young men to think more deeply about their vocation and a good number of these annual visitors are now well into their studies at the Madrid seminary. The photo shows this year's group on a trip to Canterbury.

It sometimes occurs to me that two people who are in love use their human wit to stay in contact during the day. If we love the priesthood then we too will find new and exciting ways to promote vocations. It is not a matter of following a pre-determined programme. It's simply a question of initiative - and works best if we are determined to have a good time ourselves while doing it!

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