Monday, April 30, 2007
Sometimes we forget to pray. Sometimes we just find it hard to come up with the right words. Sometimes we're just too pre-occupied with other things. Here's a link to a website of the US Conference of Bishops that simply lists lots of prayers for vocations. Why not download some of them? You can pick afavourite and use it each day.
If you are a parent you can scroll down to the end or simply click here for a prayer just for you.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
1. How do I know if God is calling me to be a priest?
2. What can I do to become clearer about my vocation?
3. Vocation: Different calls in the New Testament.
4. Things to read about priesthood and vocation.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
When is the cut off date for entry this this year to the seminary courses starting in September? My understanding is that there is an assessment weekend in London in April/May.I thought it might be useful to explain the procedure for applying to the seminary.
For the applicants the weekend begins with lunch on Friday. The best part of Friday afternoon and Saturday morning are taken up with interviews and other activities. Each candidate is interviewed by a priest who will ask him about his prayer life and his sense of vocation. The interviewer will also try to ascertain the extent to which the candidate has an understanding of the faith. A second interview tries to build up a picture of who the candidate is: his interests and hobbies, his family life and background as well as his general human maturity and understanding of celibacy. A third interview looks at the candidate's educational background. Here the question is one of his capacity to study. As well as these three key interviews they also meet with a psychiatrist who seeks to determine whether there are any relevant questions of mental health that the panel should be aware of. If so he is, of course, in a position to give an objective professional opinion. The Southwark candidates also have their medical during the weekend.
After everyone has been interviewed the panels meet to discuss their impressions before reporting back to a plenary session on Sunday morning. They then make recommendations which are forwarded to each candidate's bishop. It is of course the bishop who ultimately makes the decision whether or not to accept a candidate as a seminarian for his diocese.
I must say I found the weekend very helpful. I was glad I attended and now appreciate very much more the work of the panel members. When I got back there was a comment on another post about the timetable for admission. I'll do a separate pot in response to that.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
On Monday I received an email from Stephen Langridge who had 'googled' his name and found various posts referring to me. Since we live practically round the corner from each other we arranged to meet for lunch on Friday. When your surname is relatively uncommon it is a bit odd to open the door to someone who introduces himself as you! It was, however, a very pleasant encounter and we found that, apart from the name, Stephen and I had a number of things in common. There is only about a year's difference between us. We are both fathers - although not in the same sense! We both have a working knowledge of German, Italian and Spanish. However, in one important respect we are very different: Stephen Langridge is a well known director of opera whereas, as any parishioner would testify, I'd be distinguished rather for my musical inability.
So this post is not about vocations at all. It is for Stephen Langridge - the consolation of a alert referring to this blog where there is finally a post about him!
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Monday, April 09, 2007
Public expenditure, leisure time, crime, gender inequality, income inequality, depression — none of these is correlated with measures of happiness over time. If we believe that the data over time on recorded happiness have any real meaning, they suggest one thing very strongly: attempts to improve the human lot by social and economic policy are a monumental exercise in futility.
But that's not all. It goes on to identify two factors that positively affect people's overall happiness. What are they? The first is marriage. Married people are on the whole happier than those alone or in 'relationships'. The second is religion. People who have faith are happier than those who are not:
Marriage makes people far less likely to suffer psychological illness, and more likely to live much longer and be both healthier and happier.
The benefits are confined to those who are married rather than cohabiting. And these benefits are large. In terms of health, for example, the longevity effect of marriage may even offset the consequences of smoking. Religious faith also has a distinct positive effect on happiness.
The author of the article draws some pretty obvious conclusions but ones we rarely hear these days:
In so far as policy conclusions can be drawn at this stage of happiness research, they seem to imply increased support for marriage, reductions in incentives to single parents and the promotion of faith schools. It’s hardly the mix that is usually heard from the liberal advocates of wellbeing policies.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Friday, April 06, 2007
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
During the month of April, Benedict XVI will pray that every Christian may answer the call to sanctity. The Holy Father will ask that every Christian may answer enthusiastically and faithfully the universal call to sanctity, allowing himself to be enlightened and guided by the Holy Spirit. The Apostleship of Prayer announced the intentions chosen by the Pope. The Pontiff also prays for an apostolic intention each month. For April, his intention is: "That the number of priestly and religious vocations may grow in North America and the countries of the Pacific Ocean, in order to give an adequate answer to the pastoral and missionary needs of those populations."
Monday, April 02, 2007
The purpose of the Selection Conference is to try to discern whether a candidate has sufficient awareness of the priesthood to begin training. At the same time, it's not a test - no one expects of someone going into seminary the insights gained through years of formation! But the Conference can make an assessment of where the candidate is starting, his openness to formation and his capacity to study. It is on this basis that the Conference can make its recommendations to the Archbishop.
I've not been on a Selection Conference panel but I think we can make a fair guess at the sort of questions our candidates can expect. I would expect, for example, that a candidate be asked about his prayer and sacramental life. Does he have a Spiritual Director? What understanding does he have of the Church? Why does he want to be a priest? What does he understand a priest to do? I imagine there will also be questions about his emotional maturity, his understanding of celibacy and his interests and hobbies.
Please keep all our applicants and those from other dioceses in your prayers.