|Rome - Italy
July 3, 2012
A Workshop for Augustinian Vocation Promoters, which called together 38 friars from 23 circumscriptions of the Order, opened in Rome on Monday, July 2 with a greeting by the Prior General, Fr. Robert Prevost. The Prior General recalled the words of Pope Benedict directed to a group of American bishops who had come to Rome for their ad limina visit: "The urgent need in our own time for credible and attractive witnesses to the redemptive and transformative power of the Gospel makes it essential to recapture a sense of the sublime dignity and beauty of the consecrated life, to pray for religious vocations and to promote them actively, while strengthening existing channels for communication and cooperation, especially through the work of the Vicar or Delegate for Religious in each Diocese." (May 18, 2012).
The workshop, which will continue through Friday, July 6, has as its goal the exchange of pastoral experiences and best practices among the participants with the possible formulation of recommendations to the International Vocations Commission and to the General Council for inclusion in the program of the General Chapter of 2013. Fr. Michael Di Gregorio, Vicar General and President of the Commission, outlined several points for discussion: the promotion of a vocation culture which recognizes that the call of God to every individual is aided by discernment and accompaniment by friars who seek to create an atmosphere in which hearing the invitation of the Lord becomes possible in the silence of one's heart, in the Word proclaimed, in the events of life and in relationship with others. All friars should speak of God's invitation with enthusiasm and courage, not only to youth, but also to parents and families, concerning the joys of religious life and the great satisfaction which comes from accepting a life which is enriching and significant, a life of sharing and of service. Underscored was the fact that the work of vocation promotion cannot be efficacious in the long run if it is not accompanied in the various circumscriptions by a continual renewal of Augustinian life among the friars. In this sense the promotion of vocations cannot be separated from the formation - both initial and ongoing - of the friars.