Men Religious Moving Forward in Hope Final Report

Religious priests and brothers gathered at St. Meinrad Archabbey, St. Meinrad, in December 2013 and at Holy Name Retreat Center, Houston, TX in January 2014 to focus on new membership issues. Approximately 125 men attended one of the two identical events. They listened to presentations on what canon law says about religious life, Catholic demographics, the contemporary social context for vocations, and how their own institute's "vocation culture" can enhance new membership efforts.

These gatherings took place in fulfillment of one of the objectives of the Moving Forward in Hope National Vocation Plan developed in 2010. Funded by an anonymous foundation, each of the participants received a tool to assess the vocation culture within their own institute. As highlighted in the NRVC/CARA Study on Recent Vocations to Religious Life, successful vocation ministry calls for a corporate ownership for promoting and supporting new membership within religious congregations.

 The keynote speakers for these workshops were:

  • Father Thomas Gaunt, SJ, PhD, executive director of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), Washington, DC;
  • Father Francis Morrissey, OMI, JCD, PhD, former dean of canon law at the University of St Paul, Ottawa;
  • Brother Sean Sammon, FMS, PhD, scholar in residence, Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY, former superior general, psychologist, and acclaimed author on religious life.

The facilitator was Brother Paul Michalenko, ST, director of the Institute of Religious Formation at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, IL. Brother John Mark Falkenhain, OSB developed and presented the "Vocation Culture Assessment Tool" which all participants received.

 Program follow-up

This coming summer, 2014, Carol Schuck Scheiber, NRVC Publications Editor will write and NRVC will publish online a public document gleaning the shared wisdom of the two gatherings and looking at initial steps that the participants' communities have taken.

 NRVC expresses deep gratitude to Sister Deborah Borneman, SS.CM, project coordinator, for her preparation of these gatherings and to members of the planning committee for their dedication and commitment to this project: Brother Paul Bednarczyk, CSC; Father Thomas Enneking, OSC; Brother John Mark Falkenhain, OSB; Brother Ronald Hingle, SC; Father James Kent, OFM Conv.; Brother Paul Michalenko, ST; Father Robert Lombardo, CFR; Brother Sean Sammon, FMS; and Father Vince Wirtner, CPPS.

For further information, please contact Sister Debbie Borneman, SS.CM, at debbiesscm@nrvc.net

To see or download photos of the event, go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/nrvc/sets/72157639804919613/

 

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