Wednesday, February 29, 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!