Generalate – RELEM Congress on the Culture of Vocations
Brother Jorge A. Sierra Canduela, FSC
Pastoral and Vocation Ministry
ARLEP District (Spain and Portugal)
For the three days of January the 20th to the 22nd, 2020, more than 45 Lasallians from the Region of Europe and the Mediterranean (RELEM) came together to the Generalate in Rome for a Congress on the topic of the Culture of Vocations, which is a fundamental aspect of our Lasallian mission.
The Congress was organised by the Regional Team for the Ministry of Vocations, and their goal was to inspire all Lasallians to promote the vocation of the Brother and all other forms of Lasallian vocation by establishing a common vocabulary for vocations and Lasallian identity, and by developing a strategy for action on cultivating vocations in Europe and the Middle East which will help to revitalise the ministry of vocations.
Brother Aidan Kilty, General Councillor, gave the welcoming address, and we started the Congress with a round table discussion by young people from around the Region which focussed on the situation of young peple in relation to the question of vocation. The theme “Towards the Culture of Lasallian Vocations” was then explored by Brother Jorge Sierra of the District of ARLEP, who defined the concept of “the culture of vocations” by recalling the life journey of Saint John Baptist de La Salle and pointing to the responsibility we all have to committing ourselves to “help one another to discover our mission in this world.”
The second day was devoted basically to an in-depth presentation of Circular 475, due to be published very soon and entitled “From Hope to Commitment: Understanding Lasallian Vocations.” The presentation was made by Brother Rafa Matas, General Councillor, and it was followed by work in mixed groups and then in groups according to Districts.
Each day, we benefitted from workshops on Lasallian vocations led by Heather Ruple Gilson and Brother Paco Chiva of the Secretariat for Association and Mission. We looked at some simple but profound processes which can help people to understand their personal life journey and lead to commitments which can facilitate the cultivation of vocations.
Prayer and liturgical celebration formed an important element in our Congress, with sessions prepared in different languages by people from various cultural contexts. The emphasis was placed on prayer for Christian unity, in keeping with the dates and in union with the prayers of the whole Church.