To rekindle a “culture of Vocation Promotion”

By Mark Razizza, SJ – Delegate for Formation

On 8 October, over seventy Jesuits from around the globe joined Fr. General for a Webinar to discuss vocation promotion in the Society today. The conversation was prompted by Fr. General’s desire to share some of the key outcomes from his Consiglio Allargato in September, which had focused on the theme of Jesuit Vocations. Most of the vocation promoters who were invited to the Webinar had contributed valuable input to the Consiglio Allargato by participating in preparatory focus groups over Zoom earlier in the summer. Hence, they were eager to hear how their input had helped to shape the future directions for vocation promotion that had been discerned during the September Consiglio. The Webinar also provided an opportunity for these vocation promoters to ask questions, give feedback, and offer suggestions directly to the General based on his proposals. Thus it offered an innovative example of how the growing use of video conferencing, dictated by the pandemic, is not only transforming, but also enhancing the diverse ways through which Fr. General can communicate and be in touch with Jesuits around the globe.

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The General began the Webinar by stressing that all vocation promotion begins with the question “how to help men listen to the call that comes from the Holy Spirit?” Crucial to our Jesuit vocation is the novel style of religious life that Ignatius imagined, and his appreciation that the apostolic body of the Society needs diverse workers, both priests and brothers, called by the Lord to work in his vineyard. In particular, Fr. General emphasized the importance of the brother’s vocation, and he stressed that the “Society of Jesus, without brothers, would not be the Society of Jesus.”

One of the main themes that Fr. General stressed during the Webinar was the need to rekindle a “culture of vocation promotion” throughout the Society. Such a culture flows from the fact that vocation promotion is part of our Jesuit identity; hence, it must be a substantive part of the life-mission of each member of the apostolic body of the Society. Key characteristics of this culture of vocation promotion include dedicating ourselves to daily prayer for vocations, creating welcoming Jesuit communities, animating vocation promotion throughout our apostolates, encouraging each Jesuit to take personal responsibility for inviting men to consider religious life, and striving to lead faithful and inspiring lives that embody the best of who we can be.

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Fr. General also told the vocation promoters that over the next few months he would be meeting via Zoom with the Major Superiors of each Conference to discuss concrete ways of fostering a culture of vocation promotion in their local context. A crucial first step in this process is developing a clear plan for vocation promotion that details the people, means, and resources required to accompany young people as they discern their call to religious life. In particular, the General will be encouraging Provincials to mission Jesuits to work full time in vocation promotion and without rapid turnover so that they can develop relationships, build programs, and nurture the networks of collaboration that are needed.

He also shared that he would be inviting new and deeper partnerships between vocation promotion and youth pastoral ministry. At the heart of both of these missions is the art of accompaniment, which requires closeness to and harmony with young people as well as with Jesus. In the end, all vocations are a gift from the Lord, but we are called to cooperate with this gift and to walk with a new generation as we discern together how young people are called to serve in the Lord’s vineyard.

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles public relations.

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