Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pastoral Guidelines for the Promotion of Vocations to the Priestly Minitry

I have mentioned this new document before and you can read a copy of it yourself by simply clicking the relevant page at the top of this blog. It is important that it not be a document once published and then forgotten and we shall certainly be considering it during our forthcoming Vocation Directors' Conference. Today I would like to give something of the background to the document. The easiest, and most authoritative, way of doing this is simply to translate for you some paragraphs of a talk given by Mgr Diego Coletti.

In January 2005, the Plenary Congregation of the Dicastery for Catholic Education, declared itself in favour of an elaboration and publication of a new document for the promotion of a pastoral ministry for vocations to the ministerial priesthood. It indicated five characteristics the new document would have to try to meet:
  • to invite the whole ecclesial community, and not just one or other of its components, to a renewed awareness of its responsibility to promote vocations in both its educative and in its pastoral roles;
  • to offer a clear and unified idea of the spiritual nature of ministerial priesthood, of its necessity and of its role in the Church;
  • to encourage all the members of the Church, and particularly those groups and movements that are trying to foster and sustain vocations;
  • to make available a practical vademecum which would be as concrete, clear and effective as possible;
  • to produce a document which would be both brief and incisive.
The Plenary Congregation of January 2008 put into motion an initiative to carry out a wide consultation which would involve the offices of the national Episcopal Conferences dedicated to vocations ministry. It gave its support once again, as well as some updated ideas, for the elaboration of the document.

Finally in February 2011 the Plenary meeting of the Congregation, having carried out a wide-ranging reflection on the synthesised results of that consultation, put together in thirty propositions of the material it had received, and encouraged the redaction of the new document following the classical threefold structure: analysis of the situation; re-statement of the priestly identity; and practical suggestions for promoting vocations.

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