Sunday, February 10, 2013

Contemporary Developments in Vocations Ministry


On Tuesday this week we have the second of four sessions designed to share with members of religious congregations some of the insights and experience of diocesan Vocation Directors. The topic this week is "The Challenge of the New Evangelisation". I was recently invited to give a talk on the New Evangelisation in the United States. Having spoken about the experience to a number of friends since then it has become clear to me that there is still a lot of confusion around what the expression means. I found a very useful explanation is a recent collection of essays (not yet available in English) by Cardinal Walter Kasper where he develops some of the distinctions we can see expressed by pope Benedict in Porta Fidei, the document announcing the Year of Faith.
All over the world there has been an increase in vocations attributed to the work of the Holy Spirit through those groups and movements that are agents of the New Evangelisation. I am told that in the United States, for example, a third of seminarians are the fruit of the apostolic endeavours of just two groups evangelising young people. These fruits of the New Evangelisation can challenge us in very specific ways. Are we willing to allow ourselves to be challenged? Men and women who come to faith trough the New Evangelisation remain people who have grown up within a particular social, family and cultural context. Their formation needs are, therefore, not necessarily the same as those of people who belonged to a different context. How do we discern what those needs are and respond to them in ways that are recognisably Christian rather than offering a therapeutic model of human formation based on a pagan (and therefore flawed) anthropology?
To book a place on the session please email the Vocations Office.

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