2016 VOCATIONS WEEK: Archbishop Costelloe encourages prayers for vocations
Archdiocese of Perth Vocations Director Fr Jean-Noël Marie and Assistant Director Fr Mark Baumgarten. The best way to serve God is to commit ourselves each day to be open to whatever God’s Spirit might inspire in our hearts to say, do and be, Archbishop Costelloe has said during a special Holy Hour celebration for Vocations. Photo: Caroline Smith
By Jamie O’Brien
The best way to serve God is to commit ourselves each day to be open to whatever God’s Spirit might inspire in our hearts to say, do and be, Archbishop Costelloe has said.
Fresh from his travels to Poland for the 2016 World Youth Day, the Archbishop was speaking as part of his homily at a special Holy Hour for Vocations on Sunday, 7 August at St Mary’s Cathedral, as part of Vocations Week.
“Our basic and most important vocation is to be disciples of Jesus,” the Archbishop said.
“He has brought us into His Church, spoken to us in the depths of our hearts, planted in us a desire to know Him and to love Him and to follow Him, and called us to be signs and bearers of His love to all those we meet.
“All of us who are members of the Church, whether we be married or single, young or old, sick or healthy, rich or poor, priests, or deacons, or religious, share together in the Church’s fundamental vocation: to be together a living sign that God is at work in our world through His Church, which is the body of Christ,” he said.
The Archbishop focused his homily on the need for prayers for vocation to the priesthood and religious life.
“It is true, of course, that we should pray for all vocations – or rather that all Christians, no matter what way of life they choose, will recognise that it is the Lord who gives us the gift of life, and that it is the Lord who in His providence has so arranged things that, if we are really open to His grace in our lives, we will discover that way of life which will lead us along the path the Lord is calling us to follow,” the Archbishop said.
“In the mystery of the Church as the Lord has established it, priests and religious have a special, unique and irreplaceable role in enabling the Church to be what it is meant to be.
“In a way that is unique to them, because of the ministry they perform and the way of life they live, religious, deacons and priests keep before the eyes of the whole Church the absolute priority of God and the absolute centrality of Jesus in the life of every faithful Christian.”
Vocational support finds a new home in Perth Archdiocese
Following the launch of a new Vocations Office in Victoria Square earlier this year, Vocations Director Fr Jean-Noël Marie said he was excited about the new initiative, which will both promote vocations within the Archdiocese and provide support for those who are discerning their vocation.
“In Perth, we’ve never had a place that is exclusively ‘vocations focused’, a place from which we can promote vocations, or an address where people can contact us,” he said.
“But now we have an address – this is a very exciting initiative of the Archbishop; it marks a new beginning.”
Fr Marie said the aim of this new initiative is to instil into the Archdiocese of Perth a culture of vocations, and that the Archbishop has been very gracious in providing the much needed space for the office to open.
“This centre, which is accessible to everybody, along with the resources which have been made available, will enable us to develop and produce the necessary material and support in our relentless campaign of promotion of vocations,” Fr Marie said.
Commenting on the initiative, Assistant Vocations Director Fr Mark Baumgarten said the decision to create a dedicated office for vocations would be a boon for the Archdiocese.
“This is a real opportunity to professionalise vocations promotion and make it a lot more deliberate, with specific strategies and focus,” he said.
While the Vocations Office is not directly connected to Perth’s seminaries, Fr Marie said that the seminaries would also play a role, particularly with men who are seriously considering an application.
“The seminary comes in at a later stage in our discussions, once we feel that ‘this could be a good candidate’ and they are getting closer to making up their own mind about pursuing the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Perth,” he said.
“They may have some questions about formation or the lifestyle, and we can arrange a visit to the seminary, to have lunch there and let them see for themselves.”
Fr Baumgarten said the office’s work would be founded on ‘four Ps’: prayer, presence, promotion and planting seeds, adding that the Archdiocese’s Lenten campaign of praying the Rosary each Thursday for vocations was a good example of the first.
“Presence means being present at things such as various youth events, going into high schools, and so forth,” he said.
“Promotion refers to things like the forthcoming website, or to more conventional materials such as posters and postcards.
Some of these have been present previously, but we are striving for it to become more coordinated and organised.”
Fr Baumgarten went on to explain that planting seeds refers more to creating a culture in which an interest in vocations is embraced and encouraged throughout the Archdiocese.
“It needs to be seen as a more normal thing for a young man or a young woman to respond to a priestly or religious calling,” Fr Baumgarten said.
“Ultimately, the thing that probably bears the most fruit is building good relationships with people who are serious about their faith, and providing them the assistance they might need to discern where God is leading them.”
The new Vocations Office website may be visited via the following link: www.perthpriest.org