Sunday, November 11, 2012
Vocations Directors Conference
Over the last few weeks I've been working on preparations for our forthcoming Vocation Directors Conference which starts tomorrow at St John's Seminary, Wonersh. Every diocese will be represented except, sadly, Menevia where the Vocations Director can't get away because he has three funerals in the course of the week. Very few dioceses in England and Wales have full-time Vocations Directors and so most have to combine the role with at least one other major responsibility. Given the importance of our work in matters to do with the selection of candidates and safeguarding procedures, it may be sensible for bishops to consider appointing an assistant to the Vocations Director. Both Nottingham and Salford diocese have two priests sharing the role which ensures that at least one can usually get to the Conference. This year we will also be welcoming two delegates from the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. The Ordinariate is in the enviable position of having, in a sense, a surfeit of priests and many dioceses are benefitting from the help they can offer in parishes and chaplaincies. It will be interesting to hear from Mgr Burnham whether he regards this as temporary in that many of the Ordinariate priests are also nearing retirement. It will also be interesting to hear what plans, if any, there may be for the establishment of an Ordinariate seminary.
This year we will be looking at the new Pastoral Guidelines for Fostering Vocations to Priestly Ministry. If you haven't read them yet you really should. They are available on this blog by going to the relevant page tab at the top. It is the Year of Faith and we have just had the Synod on Evangelisation so we will also be looking at some of the Vocational Challenges of the New Evangelisation. A major theme of our conference will be how we might get more priests involved in the work of promoting and supporting vocations. In addition to the talks already mentioned, another key presentation will look at spiritual direction and the spirituality of diocesan priesthood.
Oftentimes it is simply a question of giving priests confidence. Please pray that our Conference this year will be a great experience for us all.