Fr Darren Smith reports on Catholic Societies Vocations Day
Posted on the 10th Dec 2013 in the category Events
Saint Andrew's day seemed such an appropriate occasion for us to have the next Vocations Day under the Catholic Societies corporate vocations banner “God Calling”, held this year at Christ the King, Gordon Square. Let’s be honest the end of November is perhaps not always the best occasion to try and encourage individuals to travel the length and breadth of England to the City in order to meet with other like-minded individuals who were exploring the possibility of ordination in the Church of England. But yet again we had 33 all squashed into the room for what was without any doubt a very full and exciting programme. Beginning at 10.30am with coffee there was an opportunity for people to renew acquaintances and to introduce themselves for the first time, as there were some people who hadn’t attended any of our vocations work in the past. We then split into 4 groups to study Scripture together and decided that we would look at the New Testament reading for the Feast itself. We then came back together as a group and had a very enlightening, challenging and stimulating talk from Dr Colin Podmore, one of the two speakers of the day, that we had deliberately focused around the whole concept of Anglicanism in the Church of England in particular. One of the things that we are trying to do is take all the candidates through the different selection criteria to make sure that they are informed, enlightened and prepared for ministry in the Church of England. The afternoon session was led by Bishop Jonathan Baker and the whole day was concluded with a series of questions to the panel chaired by myself The General Secretary of the Additional Curates Society and consisting of Daniel Howard a seminarian from Saint Stephen’s House, the Bishops of Fulham and Richborough, Father John Brownsell and Dr Colin Podmore.
For me one of the most moving occasions was when we came to be fed at the Lord’s Table and with a number of invited guests we filled the Chapel at Christ the King to overflowing. Bishop Norman reminded us that as God had chosen a fisherman who left behind his expensive nets in pursuit of service to the Lord, so everyone of us is being called to some ministry within the Church and we need to pray and ask for your prayers that we may respond to that call with the same eagerness and dedication that Andrew and the other Apostles had shown.
Lunch was a speedy but delicious occasion which allowed further opportunity for networking and fellowship. As one of the participants said, for him if nothing else the opportunity to meet with like-minded people who were going through similar processes was such an encouragement and tremendous boost.
Finally I was able to reveal for the first time a new and exciting initiative that will soon be launched on behalf of the Bishops of the Society, which we hope will revitalise and energise our vocational work under a new title Here I Am. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, a regular blog as well as a new website, posters and material, all aimed at resourcing the clergy and challenging the laity to think seriously about what God is calling them to.
The thing that is constantly emerging through these somewhat challenging times is that God is not forsaking us, He is still touching the hearts and lives of men who are prepared to step forward and offer themselves to the sacred ministry in the Church. Please dear friends pray for priests, pray for the Society and those of us who on their behalf and on your behalf seek to remind and challenge individuals that God might be calling them.