Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Invocation 2012

The new website for Invocation 2012 is now live and you can access it here. Do pop over to visit the site. Invocation began as an initiative of Chris Smith from the Birmingham Vocations Office who teamed up in 2009 with the Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors to run a vocations festival for young people. The first festival took place at St Mary's College Oscott in 2010 and St Mary's will be hosting it again this year for the third time.
The festival is NOT a recruiting exercise. It is for young men and women who want space to think and pray about their future in a relaxed and congenial environment with good input from keynote speakers. Religious are on hand to represent the great religious families in the Church and to offer workshops in the different charisms and spiritual traditions. Young religious who are of the same age as the target audience play a particularly valuable role at the festival; by their presence they witness to the fact that God continues to call people to dedicate themselves to him in consecrated life. A good number of diocesan vocation directors also come, partly because it is 'their' event but more so because they usually arrange for young people to attend from their various dioceses by promoting it in parishes, schools and chaplaincies and by arranging minibuses and coaches from different parts of the country. The Vocation Directors also discuss the festival at their annual meeting and all realise that their role during Invocation is to encourage but not to recruit in any active sense.
In 2010 the keynote addresses largely explored different aspects of the baptismal call to holiness. Last year we looked more specifically at different ways of living a vocation to the Consecrated Life. This year there will be slightly more emphasis on the priestly vocation, while not obscuring the event as primarily a discernment weekend. A special feature of this year's Invocation will be the fact that the relic of the heart of St John Vianney will arrive on Saturday evening and remain at St Mary's for the rest of the event. On Sunday afternoon, after we have gone, it will be possible for the faithful from the Archdiocese and Birmingham and beyond to have access to the seminary in order to pray before the relic.
Do visit the Invocation website where you will be able to see a list of this year's speakers and also book your place!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Vocations News

Did you know Southwark Vocations has an E-newsletter? It is only ever published once a month and now has taken on an exciting new format with a new editor. If you haven't received the February edition it is because you aren't subscribe. To sign up for more news about what's happening on the vocations scene in Southwark please use the box on the right hand side.
If you find a monthly newsletter is too much, don't worry: you ca unsubscribe at any time.

The Human Body: Mystery of Dignity, Suffering & Redemption

The annual Theology of the Body lecture will take place on Wednesday 7th March at Westminster Cathedral Hall from 6.30pm until 9.00pm. This year the speaker will be Eduardo J.Echeverria, Professor of Philosophy and Theology at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit. Admission is £5 payable on the door.


Last year the Federation of Catholic University Students held its first ever International Conference in at ancient monastery of Samos in northern Spain. This video gives you a flavour of the event:

The Conference was so successful that FOCUS have decided they can't let 2012 go by without having another one! This year's Conference will take place at the Benedictine monastery castle of Glenstal Abbey in Ireland. It costs £490 (excluding transport to Ireland) and will take place from 31st July until 6th August.
The application deadline is 17th March (St Patrick's Day) so don't delay! To apply visit the Focus Missions website and click on the International Conference tab.

Society of the Sacred Heart

Sr Silvana RSCJ has been in touch with news of three vocation retreats for women organised by the Society of the Sacred Heart. The theme for the retreats is: "Journey into the depths of God and the heart of our world". She describes them as weekends of prayer, discussion, reflection with the Religious of the Sacred Heart... a time to ask questions, find out more and to be with others on a similar journey".
The weekends will take place in Oxford, London and Newcastle. For more information contact Sr Barbara Sweeney RSCJ by email or by telephone: 0191 272 3000.
I've added the dates of the retreats to the 'Dates' page of this blog: just click the tab above.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Retreat at Minster Abbey

As part of their  Jubilee year the Benedictine sisters at Minster in Kent are hosting a monastic experience weekend for young women who are seeking a more radical way of living the Gospel.  The weekend offers them an experience of Benedictine monastic life as lived in Minster, an opportunity to grow in their relationship with Jesus, and time to share together.

It will take place over Palm Sunday weekend, March 30th - 1st April.  For more information visit the community's website.

Friday, February 10, 2012

"What I longed for, I now see..."

Sr Elizabeth's Solemn Profession
Sr Elizabeth Burgess' Solemn Profession at St Cecilia's Abbey, Ryde on 6 January was a celebration of joy, thanksgiving and song.
Sr Elizabeth joined the Benedictine community at Ryde six years ago when she was nineteen.  Because Ryde belong to the Solesmes Benedictine Congregation they keep the holydays on the traditional days so for them it was the feast of the Epiphany, and as usual at Ryde all was sung in Latin Gregorian Chant.  Usually the bishop presides on these occasions but Bishop Crispian of Portsmouth has not been well so delegated his role to Fr Abbot Cuthbert Brogan of Farnborough, an old friend of Ryde.
Abbot Cuthbert was accompanied by the two young juniors from his community.  Sr Elizabeth belonged to the Oratory parish in Oxford and five Oratorians were present, including Fr Daniel Seward who preached the homily (, Chapter page).
After the Creed Sr Elizabeth came forward with a lighted candle singing in Latin "Now with all my heart  I follow you ... I seek your face".  She pronounced her vows in front of Fr Abbot, concluding with the traditional threefold "Suscipe" with arms held up in prayer: "Uphold me, O Lord, according to you word, and I shall live"; and then, bowing low, "Let me not be confounded in my hope."
After reading the chart of her vows and signing it on the altar she received the monastic cowl and then prostrated for the Litany of Saints and the Prayer of Consecration of Virgins.  After this she received the black veil, gold ring and book of the Divine Office.  Sr Elizabeth's mother died when she was a novice and so her profession ring is her mother's wedding ring.
Sr Elizabeth then placed her two joined hands between those of Mother Abbess, to signify her obedience, and after that received the kiss of peace from each member of her community. After Mass and a buffet lunch the guests joined the Sisters for a "festive recreation" in the parlour, with contributions from both sides of the grille.
Sr Elizabeth participated in Irish dancing which is why the picture shows her with a green sash pinned to her habit.

Two other young women are still in formation at the Abbey, and more are expected in 2012.
Sr Elizabeth with two novices

An Innovative Way to Promote Religious Vocations

Here's a short video of six hundred young religious taking part in a flashmob to promote vocations to the consecrated life. Anyone interested in doing something similar outside Westminster Cathedral?