|Friday June 17, 2011||to||Sunday June 19, 2011|
|Sunday July 3, 2011|
|Monday August 1, 2011||to||Friday August 5, 2011|
Helping young people to discern their vocation
“The ability to foster vocations is a hallmark of the vitality of a local Church.” Bishop Terry drew our attention to these words of Pope Benedict in his Pastoral Letter for Vocations Sunday recently. He went on “So what is it that we need to do? First of all it is important for us to help children and young people at every level – family, parish, parish groups and associations – to grow into a genuine friendship and affection with the Lord.” As the summer approaches, let me draw your attention to some events which will aim to do just that.
From 17th to 19th June, there will be a National Vocations Festival in the grounds of Oscott College in Birmingham. It was held for the first time last summer and proved to be very successful and enjoyable with over 300 young people either visiting for a day or attending the weekend. It is aimed at young men and women aged 16-35, who are looking to deepen their relationship with Christ and who are searching for the knowledge and tools to develop their own personal formation, discernment and understanding of God’s will for their lives. For some, this may mean being open to the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. There are opportunities for fellowship, catechesis, confession and Adoration with time for prayer, quiet reflection, and discernment through keynote speakers, interactive workshops and above all, the opportunity to encounter the Lord. Last year, a group of five went from the Diocese. This year, I’m prepared to run a minibus or coach if necessary. The only cost is £50.00, although accommodation is in tents – either bring-your-own or in communal tents. Check out the website for further information: www.invocation.org.uk
The Postgate Rally is one of the great summer Diocesan events. We celebrate Mass in the places associated with Blessed Nicholas Postgate, the last Catholic priest to die for the faith in England who ministered in our own Diocese for most of his 60 years as a priest. This year, the Mass is at Egton Bridge on Sunday 3rd July. Our seminarians want to bring something of the spirit and fun of last year’s Walk for Vocations to the Rally and so have offered to lead a walk from Ugthorpe to Egton Bridge on the morning of the Rally. Times and routes have yet to be finalised but we expect to leave Ugthorpe around 10.00 am, arriving in good time for the Mass at 3.00 pm, with an opportunity for a lunch-stop on the way. Let’s hope for glorious weather but regardless of the weather, we know that the Lord will bless even such small efforts to draw attention to the vital importance of priesthood in the Church.
Finally, the Faith Summer Conference at Woldingham School from 1st to 5th August is a wonderful opportunity for young Catholics to come together in a very relaxed environment to grow in knowledge of their faith and make new and often lasting friendships. Although it’s quite a drive from the north, for many years now groups have been attending from our Diocese and many would enthusiastically attest how much it’s helped strengthen their faith. See www.faith.org for more information.
At Hyde Park last September, Pope Benedict cautioned us all, “No one who looks realistically at our world today could think that Christians can afford to go on with business as usual, ignoring the profound crisis of faith which has overtaken our society, or simply trusting that patrimony of values handed down by the Christian centuries will continue to inspire and shape the future of our society.” But finally he called for the young to ask God to help them find their vocations. “Ask him for the generosity to say ‘yes!’” he said. “Do not be afraid to give yourself totally to Jesus. He will give you the grace you need to fulfil your vocation.” The Pope’s visit to England was, we all agree, an amazing and surprising outpouring of grace for our country. Let me encourage you to allow yourselves to be continued to be surprised by grace. Talk to your families, within your parishes and schools, and invite your young people to attend one of those events. Contact me directly in Scarborough to learn how to book on (01723) 360358.
Fr William Massie, Vocations Director