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Program to Help Those Considering a Vocation in Religious Life Commences Soon

Vocations Ireland has announced that ExploreAway 2012 – 2013 will commence on the first weekend of Advent from November 30 to December 2.

This is the second exploreAway, a program for single men and women between the ages of 21 and 40, to look into religious life and the priesthood in a reflective and prayerful environment. Last year seven people participated in the series of weekends to discern their vocation.

One of those participants was 30-year-old Sarah from Co Longford who said that the ExploreAway program was the opportunity that she had been waiting for in relation to exploring religious life. At those weekends she discovered that everyone is called to a vocation.

“Participating in the ExploreAway program was a significant step in my faith journey,” she concluded.

exploreAway aims to provide input, support and accompaniment to participants who are discerning their call, be it to priesthood or to religious life. Participants are invited to take this journey in the company of others who are also searching.

The program involves five residential weekends based in Dublin. The weekends provide input on vocation call, discernment, prayer and religious life and its core values and the various ways it is lived. According to Ann-Marie Gallagher, director, Vocations Ireland, this program is ideal for people at an earlier stage of discernment and who are unaware of the variety of vocations, religious congregations and charisms, or not ready to choose one.

“That is the beauty of this program; it is for young people who can go on a journey in the company of other people who are searching, so there is that peer support as well,” Ann-Marie Gallagher told ciNews.

“For Vocations Ireland and the exploreAway program, the most important thing is to accompany people who feel they might have a vocation. It is not about the outcome, whether they are called to religious life or not.”

So far there has been more than a dozen enquiries, but how many will actually participate in the program remains to be seen.

Vocations Ireland is an association of the Vocation Directors of the Catholic religious orders in Ireland. It works to present religious life, apostolic, missionary and contemplative, as a life choice that is one way of following Christ and bringing deeper meaning and purpose to life. Check out www.exploreaway.net and www.vocationsireland.com

by Ann Marie Foley



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