In India, Vocation Promotion for men and women is primarily done through the following means:
- Diocesan or Parish Vocation Camps
- School Vocation Camps
- Family Visits
These vocation promotion efforts are largely targeted towards the 15 – 17 age group i.e. those who have completed their Class 10 or Class 12.
There are some congregations trying new initiatives but in general, these are the primary means of vocation promotion. These are good, time-tested methods and should be continued.
However, there are very few initiatives or programs that cater to other age groups or target audiences e.g. those in college or in a professional course. Also, an outreach to working people is practically non-existent. In addition, other means of reaching young people e.g. volunteer programs, outreach activities etc., are not often used.
Therefore, while existing methods should be continued, it is important that new methods and new target groups are addressed in present times.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much research on the subject in India, but research has been done by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) and the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) in the US.
Based on these studies, it shows that the diversity of candidates to religious life and priesthood is increasing – in age, education, background and work experience. It also shows that the average age of candidates is increasing. Other key reasons for considering a vocation include attending a Catholic School, being involved in Catholic campus ministry / diocesan young adult ministry or volunteering with a Catholic institution. Unfortunately, most potential vocations did not receive much encouragement from parents, friends, or even parish priests.
In this context, based on the studies, some of the best practices that are working in Vocation Promotion are:
- Focus on the example of the members (community life, prayer life, and ministries are crucial)
- Creating a culture of vocations – everyone is a vocation promoter
- Being pro-active about vocations
- Appointing a full-time vocation director
- Make (financial & human) resources available for vocation promotion
- Educating the leadership
- A full time vocation director is very important
- For quick responses to enquiries
- For assistance to seekers in discernment
- He/she should be genuinely helpful and supportive; not as a sales pitch
- Importance of using media
- Must have a good website
- Most seekers do their initial research online
- Must have a good website
- Have various types of discernment programs – discernment retreats, come and see programs, weekend visits etc.
- Target different age groups
- Primary & Secondary Schools
- College Students
- Working professionals
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