Vocations Crisis Is “Time of Trial,” Cardinal Says

European Service Analyzes Effectiveness of Ministry

LEUVEN, Belgium, JULY 20, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The European Vocations Service met to discuss “When Christian Communities Become Calling Communities.”

According to a communiqué issued by the council of European episcopal conferences, the service concluded that a common problem exists in vocations ministry: the proclamation of the Gospel at the heart of a culture that has become indifferent to Christianity.

To counteract this difficulty, the service agreed that it is necessary to live charisms and ministries to the full, and to be sensitive to the fact that God calls in different ways.

The meeting was held from June 29 to July 2.

The communiqué stated: “Only when it lives through the abundance of charisms and different ministries will the Christian community, particularly the parish, help people recognize and respond to God’s different calls.”

For this to occur, Christians need to become adults in the faith, in other words, responsible for everyone’s well-being and ready to give account of the hope that is in them, the representatives concluded.

Moreover, vocations ministry must also show the various ways in which God calls. That will enable everyone to give his or her whole life, often far in excess of what he or she had imagined, the communiqué explained.

For his part, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, archbishop of Malines-Brussels, suggested that the present vocations crisis be taken as a “time of trial,” like that the people of Israel endured in the Babylonian exile.

The present situation should help the faithful to move from confidence in themselves to confidence in God, he said, explaining that it is also a question of keeping hope alive by coming back to the Gospel in all its simplicity.

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