“A vocation is the providential thought of the Creator for the creature, it is His idea-plan, the dream found in God’s heart because the creature is found in His heart.”
(In Verbo tuo – Final document of the European Congress on Vocations to the Priesthood and Consecrated Life in Europe)
The Vocations Group (VG) was set up by young, lay, Catholic women to support one another as they discern their vocation in life, especially with regard to consecrated life. Monthly meetings are held at Westminster Cathedral , with guest speakers talking on a variety of vocational issues.
Initially a group of friends came together in May 1999 for a one-off meeting to discuss their vocational journeys. The support and encouragement gained from simply being together, praying, listening and sharing with one another led to a desire to continue meeting. Thus, further meetings were planned and an established pattern of evening prayer, teaching from an invited guest speaker and informal time together came into being. Initially it was a group for young women but the increasing number of young men asking for similar support means that the group has been open to them also since Nov 2004.
So far talks have included prayer, discernment, choice-making, community, marriage, etc; religious and priests. Occasional social outings are also held, as well as weekend retreats. Numerous young people have felt the benefit of the VG, in particular the freedom to come along whenever they feel it helpful. It is widely acknowledged that in today’s society seeking one’s vocation can often seem isolating, especially as a young person considering devoting her/his life to Christ in one form or another. Members are encouraged, after attendance at several meetings, to begin a parallel journey of vocational discernment with spiritual directors of their choice.
The monthly meetings are attended by about fifteen to thirty young adults, with over 450 having attended the group over the years. All concerned have been surprised by the unexpected response from Catholics and Christians from other denominations and feel that this indicates a real need for informal support amongst young people trying to discern their vocation.
This was the first such group to be established in the country and we are overjoyed at the increase in the number of such groups as well as Samuel Groups being developed in many more dioceses.
“Heralds of the Gospel are needed, who are experts in humanity, who have penetrated the depths of the hearts of men and women of today, who share their joys and hopes, their anguishes and sorrows, but who are at the same time contemplative, in love with God. The saints were the great evangelisers of Europe. We must beg Our Lord to instill the spirit of sanctity in the Church, and send us new saints to evangelize the world of today.
(Pope John Paul II)
The original website for the Vocations Group is being renewed at this time and will be launched in due course. It will provide resources for anyway searching for God’s dream for their lives.