Inspired by the Word of God and the faith experience of the Interprovincial Team of Vocation Ministers and its lay collaborators, another step has been taken on the path that will lead to greater collaboration as we unite in our effort to present the following of Jesus Christ as a life option to young men and women.
During the IV Interprovincial Encounter of Vocation Ministers, we discussed various encounters with young men and women … encounters that are captivating because of the variety of concerns of these young people, because of their initiatives and their searching. Their encounter with Jesus Christ reveals the newness of Jesus’ presence especially as people allow themselves to be encountered by Jesus. We refer to this as an encounter of encounters because we lived multiple realities: an encounter with young men and women and their “multi-colored” world, an encounter with Jesus Christ and his challenging presence in Sacred Scripture and the Liturgy, and an encounter with the vocational ministers with their various experiences, knowledge and concerns. We came together in order to discern the movement of God in those aspects proper to the various provinces of the Daughters of Charity and the members of the Congregation of the Mission in Colombia. We also came together to encourage one another and to receive a message of unity with the church in Colombia (with her pastors). Finally, we came together in order to reflect on the words that had been proclaimed by one who has been called to guide us in matters related to the Vincentian charism and to rejoice together in the beauty of nature as seen in the center where we met, namely, the Casa Buenos Aires.
Through the multiple meetings in which we have participated, we have been led to engage in a process of seeing, listening and proclaiming. As we drew closer to the world of young people and as we were enlightened by the preparatory document of the 2018 Synod of Bishops whose theme is Young people, the faith and vocational discernment, we, as individuals involved in vocational promotion, came to discover the successes and failures with regard to our own understanding of the world of young people and we were also surprised by their initiatives and their significant concerns. As we reflected on the means that young people use in order to communicate their thinking, their frustrations, their joys, and their sorrows, we were forced to examine our willingness TO SEE and TO LISTEN to what young people were saying rather to act from our own interpretations and conceptualizations.
The encounter with Jesus Christ in prayer, in the Word and in the various liturgical celebrations was an opportunity to experience Jesus’ mysterious, active presence. As we listened to Jesus in our group discussions and in silence, we were provided with an opportunity to draw near to the One whose light shines forth in our midst and shows us the path that we must follow. Indeed, the One who continues to walk with us, has also drawn near to us and has helped us discover how to walk with others as together we seek to make the Kingdom more present and to give meaning to the lives of all whom we encounter.
We came together as brothers and sisters who encourage young people in their process of vocational discernment. Thus, our coming together made it clear how in community, the God of Unity becomes present in our midst. This God who has made us children of God through the sacrament of baptism has now called us to proclaim a specific lifestyle and to do this from the perspective of our common charism. The context of each minister’s life, the realities that challenge them, the persons who encourage them, their doubts and their concerns … all of this became part of our listening process and like Mary, we guard all these things in our and allow God to transform all of this.
The opportunity to listen (through the means of technology) to the Apostolic Nuncio, Bishop Ettore Balestrero and to Father Tomaž Mavrič, CM reflected the common spirit that unites us in our attempt to open paths along which young men and women can be touched by Jesus Christ, thus satisfying their aspirations and hopes.
The Casa Buenos Aires is a wonderful place to enter into communion with creation that proclaims the nearness of God and echoes the voice of the Psalmist: the heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder’s craft. One day to the next conveys that message; one night to the next imparts that knowledge. There is no word or sound; no voice is heard; yet their report goes forth through all the earth, their message to the ends of the world (Psalm 1,2,4). We thank the Lord and all those persons who welcome us and made this encounter possible.
The challenge in all of this is to move forward and to not become discouraged as together we walk along this path of Interprovincial Vocational Promotion, a path of reflection, formation, mission, and service. We must be mindful of the woman who took yeast and mixed it with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened (Luke 13:21) … we must be mindful of that reality in order for the Kingdom to become a reality in the heart of all young men and women.
By: Sister Diana Carvajal Pinto, DC
Province of Milagrosa (Bogotá-Venezuela)
Charles T. Plock, CM
Eastern Province, (USA)