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An answer of generosity
The annual EVS congress in Ireland
“The Eucharist, source of all vocations: communions, testimony, mission”. This was the theme of the annual congress of European Vocational Services (EVS) at St. Patrick’s College of Maynooth, Ireland (June 28 – July 1st). The meeting was attended by representatives of pastoral care of vocations from 13 European countries, along with delegations from the United States, and Canada-Quebec.
Around the Eucharist. The meeting is in close continuity with the international Eucharistic Congress in Dublin that ended a few days ago. Panel speakers addressed the theme of Eucharistic celebration vis a vis vocational response. In particular, the contribution of Fr Laurent Villemin (France) delved into the theme from a theological and ecclesiological angle, on the basis of the insights of French theologian Henry De Lubac in “Corpus Mysticum”, and in the light of the reflection of John Paul II in “Ecclesia vivit de Eucharistia”. The speaker thus underlined the importance of the communion dimension of the Eucharist, freeing it from the temptation of ever-latent forms of individualism. “There is no Eucharist without the priest, and there is no Eucharist without community. It’s the root of all true vocational prayer and every choice of life’s gift to our Lord Jesus”, he said.
Everyone at everyone else’s service. The second speech, delivered by Fr Antonio Bravo Tisner (Spain) focused on a comment to the Eucharistic prayer “O Sacrum Convivium”. The prelate highlighted the importance of a “personal self” which is “totally immersed in the Otherness of the Divine”. He recalled that since the Church’s inception, vocation has always been “widespread, albeit expressed with multifarious vocations and functions, both at personal and at the level of religious ministry. We’re all at the service of someone else, namely, until the edification of the Body of Christ, reaching the unity of faith and the common knowledge of the Son of God, the Perfect Man, constituting the yardstick of His Oneness”.
Psychological and affective dimensions. Jesuit Fr Franco Imoda, former dean of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, presented a report analysing the complex psycho-affective and spiritual dynamics that characterize those who fulfil the vocational calling. Fr. Imoda thus outlined the “response” that unifies “body mind and will”, within a life that is totally donated to the cause of the Gospel, thus with a form of radical consecration, in the ordained ministry as in consecrated life.
Favouring mutual sharing. Panel speakers included Msgr. Francis Bonnici, animator of the Pontifical works for priestly vocations (POVS) on behalf of the Congregation for Catholic education who spoke of the Holy See’s commitment to promote the sharing of vocational pastoral care in order to solicit a generous, mature and constructive response on the part of the candidates. Msgr. Bonnici then illustrated the POVS acivity along with the activity of other bodies for vocational animation (“Serra International”, “Celam” and many more) along with reference to the recent presentation in the Vatican of a document on the promotion of priestly vocations in the world. The works were coordinated by the president of the Irish Bishops’ Conference Cardinal Sean Brady, Archbishop of Armagh, and the apostolic nuncio to Ireland Msgr. Charles John Brown, as well as several bishops.
President, coordinator and vice-coordinators. The EVS president, who will succeed Msgr. Wojciech Polak, bishop of Gniezno (Poland), will be appointed by CCEE – Council of the European Bishops’ Conferences - by the end of the year, while the new coordinator, elected during the meeting in Ireland, is Msgr. Domenico Dal Molin, from Italy. Vice-presidents are the Czech Vincenta Korínková and the Spanish priest Fr Ángel Javier Perez Pueyo. “To highlight the service carried out by the ‘European Vocations Service’, to create a link between European vocational pastorals and offer a vocational connotation to the Year of Faith that will begin next October” are the three lines of action indicated to SIR Europe by Msgr. Dal Molin. For vocations’ promotion EVS coordinator recalls the document “New vocations for a new Europe” (1997) underlining the need “to bring together all vocations with a special consecration, since if vocations don’t develop together they run the risk of dying together”. In the Year of Faith, July 7 2013, a world meeting of seminarians from all continents will take place in Rome with the novices of religious life and consecrated laity. “It will be a sort of vocational WYD that will precede the WYD in Rio de Janeiro by just a few days”.