National Vocations Forum, Worth Abbey
Spent Sunday 18th at Worth Abbey (Benedictine, where the wonderful BBC TV series "The Monastery" took place - see http://www.worthabbey.net/flash_index.html and http://www.worthabbey.net/bbc/index.html). I was there for a National Vocations Forum with other religious, priests and lay people, all of whom work in some way in the area of vocations. It was a wonderful time of shared experiences, wisdom and support, skillfully facilitated by Abbot Christopher Jamison of Worth.
It didn't just deal with the burning question of religious/priestly vocations but also addressed the wider, more fundamental question of christian vocation and the discernment necessary to be able to hear God's call to whatever way of life; be it marriage, celibate single life, religious life, priesthood, etc... and to particular a apostolate within that life.
I'll try to put together some of the ideas discussed during the day and put them here. An intiative which many religious orders together are involved in and which was discussed during the day is Compass (see http://www.compass-points.org.uk/compass.html). The web site acts as an introduction to a process of discernement on God's calling and may lead to a series of stays at Worth (7 weekends, 2 weeks) for those who feel a calling from God which they wish to explore with spiritual guides and other participants with whom they form a group of seekers.