Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Disconnect to Connect

Have you ever sat in a restaurant wondering why the couple at the next table ever came out at all since they spent the whole evening on their mobile phone's? Here's an advert from a phone company in Thailand:

The slogan at the end simply recommends that we use our phones just enough...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Guidelines for the Promotion of Vocations to the Ministerial Priesthood

DSCN0868 by Southwark Vocations
DSCN0868, a photo by Southwark Vocations on Flickr.
A couple of weeks ago I was in Rome for a special meeting to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Pontifical Department for Priestly Vocations "Pontificia Opera Vocazioni Sacerdotali". Apart from celebrating the work of POVS, the meeting was also to present a new document entitled "Guidelines for the Promotion of Vocations to the Ministerial Priesthood". Although not yet published, Mgr Diego Coletti gave an interesting talk summarising its contents. He listed eight "conditions" necessary for a vocation to find fertile soil in a Church which "creates, through the quality of its faith and the transparency of its witness to the Gospel, the conditions for authentic and generous vocational responses".

These are the eight conditions as his gives them:

  1. In general a rich soil of Christian life in the ecclesial community. [...] As in the most pure womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, so also in the maternal womb of the Christian community, it will be only the fire of the Holy Spirit, received and guarded in an authentic life of faith, that will raise the temperature of the vocational climate to the level necessary for the seeds planted by the Lord in the hearts of many young people to bloom and to give abundant fruit;
  2. The irreplaceable role of prayer which calls from the Lord of the harvest an abundance of workers;
  3. The importance of an integrated pastoral work ensuring those responsible for Christian education effect a coherent convergence in their educational programmes and proposals;
  4. A new approach of evangelisation and of mission that will awaken in young people a strong passion for the Gospel;
  5. The irreplaceable and central role of the family;
  6. The coherent and joyful witness of the life of priests;
  7. The educative efficacy of the experience of service and of a life freely committed to others;
  8. Finally the value of schools and of universities that introduce opportunities to encounter and to develop the experience of Christian living.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Here's How It Could Be Done...

Following on my last post I was sent a link to this video. Someone get this guy a ticket to St Paul's...

The St Paul's Demo

St Paul's Demo by Southwark Vocations
I have to admit if I were a protester outside St Paul's I'd be feeling pretty confused and probably not a little cheesed off! There I am campaigning for the abolition of money when suddenly it all turns into a debate about ecclesiastical politics.
However, I'm not a protester outside St Paul's so I have the leisure to be bemused in another way and to wonder how that motley congregation might be evangelised. People have been asking "What would Jesus do?" Having already pitched his tent among us, I suspect he would be continue to call men and women to repentance. However, I think we know what St Paul would do. When he went into the Areopagus St Paul didn't say to those present, "I stand with you". He latched onto something they could relate to and used it to proclaim Christ. That's the model of the first evangelisation of Europe and I suspect it will need to be the model of the New Evangelisation as well.
It seems to me that there are probably  quite a few potential starting points for a really useful and constructive dialogue. The right of men and women not to be exploited could be one. Where does that right come from? In fact, are rights conceded by the State or inherent in the individual? If the latter what about the right to life? Carefully handled such a conversation could lead some of those young people from the ubiquitous moral relativism they've been taught since school to an understanding of the notion of moral absolutes.
Would they all be converted? Who knows! St Paul was laughed at by some but others said, "We will hear you again on this". Anyone thinking of the priesthood today needs to think also how they would engage with young people to proclaim Christ to them.