CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Vocation Month in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (SE): The Diocesan Vocations Commission is set to launch a series of programmes this year to mark its 40th anniversary.
Sister Margarita Chan Mei-yung, the executive secretary of the commission, told the Kung Kao Po on March 24 that the commission has recently explored different ways of strengthening its promotion of a culture of vocation.
High on the suggestion list is inviting people to join a recently launched prayer for vocation movement, which to date has managed to attract over 2,000 people into its fold.
She said that in cooperation with the Living Spring Foundation the commission will produce a series of three-minute radio clips on issues connected with vocation to the priesthood and the religious life.
Sister Chan, a Salesian, took on her role at the commission in October 2015.
She said the paucity in vocation numbers makes the promotion of a culture of vocation and related work at schools and other institutions a high priority.
She explained that the commission has also encouraged a life planning curriculum to be introduced in schools to challenge students to at least give a thought to their vocation.
Last year, it launched a three-year project to promote a set of teaching materials on the topic of vocation, which so far has been adopted by three Catholic secondary schools.
A teachers’ handbook will be published after the programme has been trialed and feedback begins to come in at the end of this school term, so that it can be promoted at other Catholic schools.
A seminarian for the diocese, Timothy Yan Ho-fung, said he believes that vocation grows out of spiritual studies and matures through experience and involving yourself in service projects.
In this context, he said he believes that Church communities can give young people more platforms on which to experience this kind of growth.
Yan said he was not really into the Church when he was young. However, after becoming involved in volunteer work at his parish, he began to discern the call to priesthood.
He discovered that this was strengthened when he signed up for World Youth Day in Germany in 2005 and later put his hand up as a volunteer in the preparation team.
He went to the Holy Spirit Seminary in 2008.
Yan explained that World Youth Day gave him a valuable chance to deepen his spiritual studies, involve himself in social service work and learn more about the Church.
He recalled that after he began to feel the call to vocation becoming stronger, he approached his parish priest to accompany him in discerning his vocation and then took part in a monthly group organised by the Diocesan Vocation Commission.
Yan described vocation as allowing the Holy Spirit to work in your heart, so for young people to respond to a call to their own vocation they need to work at ensuring they keep growing spiritually.
Chu Yin-chung is a volunteer in promoting the prayer for vocation movement around parishes. 
He told the Kung Kao Po that prayer is the first step in promoting it, followed by an involvement in parish life and family formation to encourage children to talk about vocation with their parents.
Having been part of the Legion of Mary in his parish for five years, he said that involvement in the parish can help set priorities in life, which is an important part of the discernment process.
He admitted that the main obstacle he faced in responding to his vocation was the need to give up his career and his hobbies.
The Vocation Promotion Group was established in June 1977 and in 1978 became the Diocesan Vocations Commission of Hong Kong. 
Its purpose is to support young people in getting to know and understand the vocation to the priesthood and various types of consecrated life through monthly prayer meetings, camps, concerts and other activities.
Vocation Month is marked in May in the diocese of Hong Kong.

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