CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Vocation comes from solid spiritual formation

HONG KONG (SE): The Diocesan Vocation Committee organised a seminar on promoting vocations at St. Andrew’s parish, Tseung Kwan O, on April 2, where young people, teachers and religious were invited to share their views on how to build up a culture of vocation.

Wong Si-ho, a university student, shared that young people generally focus on their work and studies, or the pursuit of material things and rather less about their spirituality. He said that students normally spend time at their tutorial classes instead of parish activities and vocation activities may not be attractive to them.

He suggested that parishes set up groups where Catholic students could study and share their faith together. 

Siu Yuen-man, a teacher, said the development of vocations needs model examples and that the family is the first place to nurture a culture of vocation. She said it is difficult to promote religious attitudes at school, not to mention a culture of vocation which relies on a firm foundation in faith. 

She believes schools must first help Catholic students deepen their faith and help non-Catholic students come to a knowledge of God.

Canossian Sister Catherine Fung Yuen-ching spoke on how to pursue dreams and vocations with young people. She said it is important to journey with them. “Because of the shortage of vocations, I cherish the opportunities to be with young people and accompany them in their pursuit of vocations,” she said.

Father Benedict Lam Cho-ming, parish priest of St. Andrew’s parish, stressed the importance of formation. He said the Church cannot ignore the spiritual formation of young people. He said having peer groups join Church activities together would help young people to reflect on faith and vocation.

Auxiliary Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, said vocation is a matter for everyone, including priests and Catholic families. He said parishes can help promote a prayerful disposition, as well as a sense of mission and community so that the seeds of vocation can grow.

He shared that he came to know about the faith during his childhood through Catholic neighbours. He would join their evening prayers and rosary recital after dinner every day. After he joined the seminary, his parents and family were baptised one after another. 

He said he had many happy experiences while responding to his vocation. He likened the experience to camping and carrying your gear in a backpack. “You will feel tired while climbing uphill and you will fall. But you will go on because you are striving to reach a goal.”

During the Mass celebrated after the seminar, Bishop Yeung remarked that vocation is a total giving of oneself or even one’s life. “This is God’s greatest gift and a mission,” he said. 

He pointed out that vocation needs prayer, trust in God and acceptance of all God’s plans.

He invited the people to pray three rosaries in May every day for all families, vocations in families and the vocations of those who are already priests.

Another Mass for vocations was scheduled on May 14 at Immaculate Heart of Mary parish, Tai Po.

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