Thursday, June 2, 2011

EUROPE: IRELAND: NEW VOCATION PROGRAM- EXPLORE AWAY

IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT: Vocations Ireland has just launched exploreAway - a new programme which aims to help those who have an interest in or may be curious about religious life to “explore where God is leading them and where fulfilment lies” according to Br Ronan Lennon, OH, one of the programme’s co-ordinators. Ireland: new vocations initiative: exploreAway | Vocations Ireland, exploreAway

exploreAway will bring a group of ten men and women together over five residential weekends, between September 2011 and April 2012, to discuss, share and explore with each other questions and answers about religious life.

Though the programme is a pilot and therefore taking place for the very first time, a number of men and women have already indicated their interest in participating. Come September, there may even be a waiting list!

The first port of call for those who want to know more should be the programme’s newly launched dedicated website - www.exploreaway.net Here, browsers will find advice outlining what programme participants can expect when they meet at the Sisters of Divine Masters’ retreat centre in Stillorgan, Co Dublin.

According to the other programme co-ordinator, Sr Gabrielle Farrell, OLA, it is “not about pushing vocations in the traditional sense but promoting vocations”. The missionary, who has served in Nigeria and Argentina, underlines that “everyone has a vocation” and that a religious vocation is “one choice in many”. It is “a way of life that we believe in.” She adds, “We’re here to give anyone who feels a religious vocation could be for them a hand in discerning that”.

Sr Gabrielle explains that the exploreAway weekends also provide participants with information on vocation, prayer, religious life, its core values and the various ways it is lived. There will also be inputs from contributors with expertise in this field as well as spiritual directors to accompany participants over the duration of the programme.

“At the heart of exploreAway is an invitation to single Catholic men and women to embark on an inner journey to see where God is leading them and to share with others who have similar questions?”, according to Sr Gabrielle.

“It is really about finding where God is calling us with our gifts and talents,” Br Ronan explains. “People continue to struggle to discover what it is they wish to do with their lives. Many are interested in commitment to ‘the God of all things’. exploreAway is an opportunity to explore this in a safe, neutral environment without having to make an immediate commitment to a specific order or congregation.”

Br Ronan and Sr Gabrielle’s advice to those curious about or mulling a vocation is: “If you are thinking about it – do something about it!”

exploreAway is a programme under the auspices of Vocations Ireland - an association of the vocation directors of religious orders, congregations and missionary societies in Ireland. For more information see: www.vocationsireland.com

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