Friday, February 18, 2011

Got the Certificate!

Last night the Sacred Heart Seminary here in Milwaukee hosted a banquet In honour of the Institute of Diocesan Vocations Personnel. At the end there were various warm speeches including a heartfelt encouragement to us all from Rosemary Sullivan, the Executive Director of the National Conference of Diocesan Vocations Directors, the American equivalent of our Conference of Diocesan Directors of Vocations. Everyone who completed the week also received a special certificate to certify that they are now fully trained Vocations Directors. So, after five years in the job, I can now regard myself as fully qualified! I must say that I have been very well treated all week. All the other participants are either recently appointed or just about to be appointed as vocation directors. When presenting me to people Rosemary always made the point of saying that I wasn't a new vocations director and that I had come as Chairman of the CDDV. She invited me to answer questions on a panel and also to preside and preach at one of the Masses. They may seem small things but are, I think, indicative of the exquisite courtesy we encounter on the other side of the "pond".
The Institute itself was extremely well organised and structured. We began with a Day of Recollection and, on the subsequent days, were taken through the work of a Vocations Director from how to organise the office on day one to a presentation on formation by a seminary rector on the last day. It was all very useful. I'll post more about the content later.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Institute for Diocesan Vocations Personnel

I mentioned yesterday that I am currently in Milwaukee attending a vocations conference. It is a meeting organised by the National Conference of Diocesan Vocations Directors (NCDVD)held every two years in the Sacred Heart School of Theology - a seminary for later vocations. The meeting is a sort of induction week for new Vocation Directors and there are just over thirty of us here.
Of course, I am not a new Vocations Director but I've come for a couple of reasons. First of all to see how things are done over here and to get fresh ideas. Secondly because part of the week is dedicated to psychological assessments - an area of selection we are examining in greater detail in England and Wales at present.
We began with a day of recollection yesterday. In the evening we had a presentation of the "Nine Principles of Vocations Ministry". This morning we looked at the "Promotion and Development of a Comprehensive Program(sic)". This afternoon the presentation is "Administration and Running the Office". Tomorrow we have Mgr Stephen Rossetti giving us sessions on psychological assessments and psycho-sexual maturity. we also have two sessions on Discernment and two on Formation.
There is a lot to hear and I am finding it a very stimulating programme. It is also great to meet other Vocations Directors and hear from their experiences.
Apart from the benefit I am deriving myself from the week I am also growing in appreciation of what more we can do in the Conference of Diocesan Directors of Vocation, which I chair, to help us in our work back home.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Prodigal Blog Returns

Over the last few months many people have asked me what has happened to the Blog? The answer is surprisingly mundane: having updated the website on Apple's excellent iWeb, I found I couldn't update the newly integrated Blog unless I was at the office computer. This meant that a lot of potentially interesting posts got delayed and eventually the Blog fell into disuse.
However, since so many people have asked me, and since quite a few have said they found it helpful, I've decided to go back to the more flexible Blogger in order to start posting again.
Of course it's never easy to resurrect a blog - so no promises! I'm grateful, however, to one of our seminarians who took the template and gave it a fresh new look. Makeovers seem to be the in thing at present.
Oh, and I should mention - I'm posting from Milwaukee!