The Congregation’s General Administration invited Holy Cross vocation personnel from around the globe for a gathering in Rome from February 5-8.
Seventeen brothers and priests from the Congregation’s various jurisdictions participated in the meeting, which offered opportunities for professional development, sharing of strategies, and looking to future collaboration in vocation ministry.
"My goal in organizing this gathering was not only to provide the vocation directors with quality in-service, but also to create an environment where they can learn from each other's cultural experience of vocation ministry and to forge relationships with one another for future collaboration,” said Br. Paul Bednarczyk, C.S.C., Vicar and First General Assistant of the Congregation.
The gathering began with a welcome from the Superior General, Fr. Robert L. Epping, C.S.C. Then Br. Bednarczyk and Fr. KJ Abraham, C.S.C., Second General Assistant and Coordinator for Formation for the Congregation, gave presentations on the admissions process, as well as the roles of the various parties associated with new membership to the Congregation. There was also time to talk about the impact of the Church scandals on vocation ministry.
A good deal of time was then dedicated to each participant presenting the vocation work and program in his jurisdiction. Afterward, there an opportunity for the religious engaged in vocation work in the same region to discuss possible avenues of collaboration. Many of the participants cited these presentations and conversations were cited as a highlight of the gathering.
“This type of meeting is a good opportunity not only to have a global point of view about vocational work, but also about opportunities, challenges and difficulties in the process of recruitment in the process of recruitment and accompaniment of the young people who want to join us in Holy Cross,” said Fr. Rodrigo Valenzuela, C.S.C., who attended from the District of Chile and Peru. “I am very grateful for the opportunity to participate in this meeting in Rome.”
The participants also had excellent input from three keynote speakers: Fr. James Grummer, S.J., former Vicar General of the Society of Jesus and currently the Director of the Ignatian Spirituality Centre at the Gregorian University, spoke on the The Art of Discernment in Vocation Ministry.
Fr. Babu Sebastian C.M.F., psychology professor at both the Gregorian and Lateran Universities in Rome, treated the topic of psychological considerations in the role of family in vocation discernment.
Finally, Br. Robert Scheiler, F.S.C., Superior General of the De LaSalle Christian Brothers, shared his reflections on young adult spirituality from his experience of being a delegate, appointed by Pope Francis, to the recent Bishops’ Synod on Youth, Evangelization, and Vocational Discernment.
The gathering also included a visit to the Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, where they were greeted by the Most Rev. Jose Carballo, Secretary to the Congregation. Later, they engaged in a listening session with Fr. Hank Lemoncelli, the Institute’s English-language representative, where they shared their opportunities and challenges of vocation ministry.
While they proved to be a very full four days, the 17 brothers and priests who were able to partake in the meeting said it was a huge inspiration and help for them to continue their pivotal work for the Congregation and the Church. They valued not only the formal presentations and conversations, but also the chance to pray and break bread together during the gathering.
“It was indeed a great opportunity for me to attend this conference for the vocation promoters at the Generalate in Rome,” said Br. Arul Jeevan, C.S.C., of the Vicariate of Holy Cross Brothers in India. “Fathers and Brothers shared their ways and means of doing vocation promotion in their jurisdictions. I learned many new ways to attract vocations, especially using social media"
“The conference was very informative and useful. It was a really well organized program," Br. Jeevan continued. "I really felt happy, and the hospitality of the Fathers and Brothers at the Generalate was simply amazing and mind-blowing. I am thankful to the organizers.”