The Church believes and trusts that today the Lord is still calling many people to consecrate themselves to Him and to the service of the faithful and the mission of the Church. Every era brings with it new challenges which demand careful analysis and an ability to adapt, in ways and forms, with regard, also, to the re-awakening of the vocational call and the accompaniment of those young people who have begun a journey of discernment. Twenty years ago, this same challenge gave rise to a document, In Verbo Tuo*, which has helped the local Churches in this task. Today this resource merits a review. This will be done by more than fifty participants, including bishops and those responsible at a national level on behalf of the Bishops’ Conferences for the pastoral care of vocations, who will meet in Tirana (Albania) from 28 February – 3 March.
The meeting is within the context of the preparation which the whole of the Church in Europe is carrying out at this time for the next Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment to be held in Rome next October.
In Tirana, the delegates from the Bishops’ Conferences will consider the outcome of the renewal of the pastoral care of vocations twenty years after the document In Verbo Tuo published by the Pontifical Work for Ecclesiastical Vocations. As well as receiving a critical reading of the document, highlighting its strengths and elements requiring modification, the meeting also envisages reflection on specific dimensions of vocational discernment: the vocation to priesthood and that to the consecrated life.
The meeting will be divided between plenary and group sessions to facilitate the exchange of experiences. Ample time will be devoted to hearing about activities and projects realised by the Bishops’ Conferences to encourage vocational discernment and accompany young people on their path of reflection.
During the meeting, the delegates will undertake a pilgrimage to the national Shrine of Our Lady of Good Counsel (Patron of Albania) in Shkodër (Scutari), where they will also visit the Museum-former prison (at the current Claretian monastery) of the Albanian secret police (the “Sigurimi”) at the time of the regime. The lives of 38 Albanian martyrs, killed for the faith, is the image of a vocation lived in fullness and still witnesses today to the spiritual richness of a Church in a country which the totalitarian regime wanted to make atheist.
The meeting is being facilitated by the Vocations-EVS section (European Vocations Service), led by the Bishop of Como, His Lordship Mgr Oscar Cantoni, of CCEE’s Youth Commission, and will be chaired by the Archbishop of Luxembourg, His Grace Mgr Jean-Claude Hollerich. The meeting is taking place in Tirana at the invitation of His Lordship Mgr Ottavio Vitale, Bishop of Lehzë and responsible for the pastoral care of vocations on behalf of the Albanian Bishops’ Conference.
The meeting is being held behind closed doors. A document will be published at the end of the meeting. Further information (the programme, the document In Vero Tuo, photographs, etc.) are available to journalists.
*In Verbo Tuo was the final document of the European Congress on Vocations to the Priesthood and to Consecrated Life in Europe (Rome, 5-10 May 1997), published in 1997 by the Pontifical Work for Ecclesiastical Vocations, and by the Vatican Congregations for Catholic Education; for the Oriental Churches; and for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life.
Other information (Programme, Photos…) will be available here.