– ‘Generation S’ Youth Assembly
The word ‘vocation’ comes from the Latin vocare, which means “to call.”
Each of us has a vocation to be a disciple (follower) of Jesus by reason of Baptism. The call is deepened and strengthened through the Sacrament of Confirmation. Like those we read about in the sacred Scriptures or in the lives of saints, we too, have our imperfections and human frailties. But through the grace of God at work in us, we are able to do great things for God and the people of God in the simple, day-to-day events of our lives (Catechist Magazine: October 2014, Vol 48, No 2, Pg 33).
One very important aspect of the Confirmation programme is “self-awareness.” The Confirmation sessions should be structured so that the participants become aware of who they are, their gifts, talents and desires.
St Paul encouraged the Christian community to recognise that the Holy Spirit graces us with gifts for the specific purpose of building up the Body of Christ.
The gifts of the Spirit are the dominant themes of 1 Corinthians Ch 12 to 14. This is the heart of vocation – to embrace one’s own gifts and talents, knowing that they are given by God to each person with each community (Catechist Magazine: October 2014, Vol 48, No 2, Pg 33).
We are all called by God to a specific vocation: marriage, priesthood, permanent diaconate, religious life or single life of blessedness. Priesthood and religious life are blessed with the gift of celibacy; this gift allows the person to give themselves totally to their ministry.
Today, we see that there is a lack of vocations to the priesthood and religious life. When talking with young people, many are not even aware that this vocation is open to all. Many have only known one order of sisters or priests and have decided that they do not want to live that particular way of life. They are not aware of the different orders and their charisms. Many are not even aware that they are experiencing a calling and do not know what to do about it and where to go for guidance.
The ‘Generation S’ Youth Assembly carded for Thursday (Divali holiday) at Preysal Secondary School is precisely to address this.
The Archdiocesan Vocations Team, which is set up to foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life, is the main organiser of this event. This team is headed by Fr Matthew D’Hereaux and supported by Frs Gerard Tang Choon O Carm, Steve Ransome and Sr Phillip SJC. Their targets are the Confirmation candidates of the entire archdiocese.
The Assembly will expose candidates to the theme of “Dare to be Different” and help them understand what it means to belong to a generation of service.
Service or mission is an important element within our Church and we need men and women to dedicate their lives to this service.
As a result of secularisation, young people are no longer offering their lives to service. This Assembly hopes to break barriers that have kept young people from service, and help them tune in and listen to the voice of God in their lives.
Various religious orders will be present for interaction and exposure. Archbishop Joseph Harris will be there to answer questions from the young people. He will emphasise the need for more priests in the archdiocese in order that we fulfill our mission in this part of the world.
Fr Clyde Harvey and Sr Rene Hall OP will share on the realities of the priesthood and religious life. The young people will be invited to make suggestions on how the promotion of vocations among their peers can be done more effectively. It promises to be fun and interactive.
It is hoped that Confirmation catechists and parents will grasp this opportunity to help their children explore the question of priesthood and religious life, and moreso to encourage the candidates to find meaning in their lives and live a life of service.
Confirmation candidates, this is a day you will not forget and may change the rest of your life. Do not miss this chance to say ‘Yes’ to Jesus.
– Bernadette Gopaul-Ramkhalawan, Archdiocesan Catechetical Office