Church Can´t Wait for Vocations to Come Knocking, Conferees Told

Delegates in Montreal Urged to «Take Risks»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

MONTREAL, APRIL 26, 2002 ( The Church must not wait for candidates to come knocking on the doors of seminaries and religious congregations, but must keep on inviting young people even if the first invitation is refused, a vocations conference was told.

While U.S. Church leaders were preparing for their Rome meeting on the sex-abuse scandals, a conference north of the border was reaffirming the beauty of the priesthood and consecrated life.

More than 1,100 U.S. and Canadian delegates attended the 3rd Continental Congress on Vocations from April 18-21.

Among the speakers, Father Gilles Routhier, a priest of the Archdiocese of Quebec and theology professor at Laval University, insisted that the Church must show great creativity in fostering vocations using methods that mobilize and evangelize people.

The Church must not just wait for candidates to come knocking on the doors of seminaries and religious congregations, he said.<br>
«The present times are calling us to take risks and go out into the deep despite the possibility of encountering waves and of being shaken by the wind,» Father Routhier said.

Passionist Father Donald Senior, a Scripture scholar, challenged those entrusted with fostering vocations «to be sacraments of hope for a wounded Church.»

In today´s situation, he said, «The Easter lesson is that paradoxically from death can come life, a renewed priesthood, new forms of consecrated life, new possibilities of collaboration and mutual respect between ordained and lay, more transparent accountability at all levels of the Church.»

Sister Marie Chin, president of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, said: «God will give young people the courage to be fire, to embrace Jesus´ passion for a transformed world.»

She urged participants to «listen with different ears so we can hear the vulnerabilities, and see with different eyes that all humanity is more connected than we can ever imagine. God will raise up vocations in our Church where our deepest gladness meets the needs of the world.»

The congress also attracted 130 young adults, who met to ponder the meaning of vocation and to articulate their hopes.

In an April 21 statement, they asked those in consecrated life and ordained ministry to «offer us authentic joyful witnesses to your way of life, that we may experience the passion of your service. Invite us to share your excitement and deep love of Christ and the Church. Together we can build a fire that is ignited by Christ.»

Recommendations from the congress will be developed into a pastoral plan for the United States and Canada.

More than 10,000 people from both countries participated in 220 diocesan and regional dialogues leading up to the congress, which was held at the request of John Paul II. Similar congresses were held in Latin America (1994) and Europe (1997).

More information is at

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation