Monday, April 22, 2013
Discovering Priesthood Weekend
At the Vocations Centre from time to time we host what we call a "Discovering Priesthood Weekend". It is not the same as a retreat or weekend of recollection. The purpose of the Discovering Priesthood Weekends is to help young men reflect more deeply on the different aspects of the life and ministry of a diocesan priest. Following a suggestion from the Spiritual Director of the seminary we have taken as our starting point the different things we seen on the sanctuary in our churches. In most church sanctuaries we see the Altar, the Tabernacle, the Ambo and the Chair. Applying these to the priesthood we could consider the priest as the one who celebrate the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, the priest as a man of prayer, the priest as proclaimer of God's Word, and the priest as the one who presides as father of his community.
This weekend we started with the Ambo and considered what it means to proclaim the Word of God. In particular we looked at the Year of Faith and Evangelisation as the deepest identity of the Church (to quote Paul VI). We also looked at what is meant by the concept of the "New Evangelisation". In such a short space of time we were, of course, only able to introduce the idea without going more deeply into the nature and content of specific areas of parish life such as parish catechesis. Hopefully what we achieved was to help our participants to see that proclaiming the Word is an all-embracing imperative and that they need both to be aware of the need to evangelise at all times and in all circumstances and also to use their imagination, creativity and initiative to be effective evangelisers.
Apart from the five prospective candidates who joined us for the weekend we were also able to welcome to the Vocations Centre two of our seminarians who helped look after meals, co-ordinate the liturgy and give a presentation on the elements of Christian discipleship.