April: a month dedicated to reflecting and praying about the "vocation" and sharing experiences of a vocational nature.
For many years in the ministries of the Province of St. Nicholas of Tolentino, a week has been spent in April, around the celebration of the liturgical feast of the Conversion of St Augustine - on April 24th - to pray in a special way for vocations, to raise awareness of the "vocational" status of every human being and to create a "vocational culture".
The Order of Augustinian Recollects has proposed by 2021 the mottoDialogue, Search and Culture,three key words that must inspire all pastoral work and, consequently, also vocational pastoral care.
Within the pastoral care of vocations, the vocational week is of particular importance for its scope, since it is celebrated in all the ministries of the Augustinian Recollect Family and, therefore, materials are prepared - posters, liturgical scripts, catechesis...- as a subsidy for its celebration, which we come forward to present. It is Jesus' encounter with the disciples, according to the Gospel of John 1:35-51, that has inspired the preparation of these materials.
This 2021, a time still of pandemic and precautions, of virtual and semi-presidential encounters, of hope and zozobra, of solidarity and commitment with those most affected by COVID-19, the Augustinian Recollects are set to celebrate in all communities the vocational week.
These materials are intended around the question Jesus addressed to those disciples of John who began to follow Him along the way, "What do you seek?"(Jn 1:38). It's about 90 pages, including some illustrations. They include a brief introduction and presentation of the pastoral objective for the year 2021: dialogue, search, andculturein the context of pastoral animation ofvocations. Liturgical scripts (prayers, petitions, vocational preces, etc.) are then offered for the celebrations of the Eucharist throughout that vocational week.
They also contain a Lectio Divina around the text of the first call of the disciples of the Gospel of John (Jn 1:35-51); some schemes for Eucharistic worship; several vocational catechesisaround the spirituality of the search and encounter according to St Augustine and, finally, an Augustinian-style itinerary is developed as a proposal for vocational accompaniment and discernment.
Today too, Jesus asks "what do you seek" all people of good will who yearn to be happy. And today, as always, Jesus continues to offer an answer: "Come and you will see it."From the origin of life the human being is called to meet and, by baptism, Christians are invited to follow him. This is the fundamental vocation of missionary disciples that gives meaning to their lives. Thus, the vocational week wants to be a humble service of help in the search for those restless hearts that sigh for happiness.
May the Lord of the Future guide the work that will be done throughout the vocational week and grow that which is joyfully sown in the hearts of many people. May our Lady of Consolation and St Joseph, protectors of the Augustinian Recollect Family, walk with us and help us to be always creators of spaces of searchanddialoguewith the contemporaryworld and culture.