Young at Heart: A privileged opportunity to support the future church in a concrete way
By Sr Elaine Penrice (NOV Religious Life Promoter)
Members of religious congregations from all over the UK came together in March for a conference in Liverpool which was inspired by Pope Francis and the book of an interview with him, “God is Young.”
Some one hundred participants came from Scotland, Ireland and England & Wales in a collaborative gathering, with the conference being the first time the offices of vocation in the respective countries had organised such an event. It was a great success!
The National Office for Vocation, Vocations Ireland and Vocation Scotland collaborated to organise this conference, aimed at providing older Religious with encouragement and training on how best to engage young people.
Religious with a lifetime of experience have much to offer the young members of our Church, and those young members have made their voices heard through the pre-synod meetings, and through the synod of bishops. Young people want us to accompany them and guide them, especially on how to follow a spiritual path, and how to live the Christian life incarnated.
The day began with prayer and music from the Vocations Ireland NET team and Sr Julie Buckley. Then we had input from Sr Margaret Taylor, herself an experienced Religious with much to offer. Sr Margaret spoke about the skill of inter-generational communication, and some of the dynamics of those communications. After some sharing in our small groups we broke into three groups, one (the more numerous) comprised those with more than 30 years profession, another with those of less than 30 years of profession and a further group of young people who came to present to us. We each took turns to look at each other and thank the other for their presence and all that they have given through their vocation.
It was a wonderful day of encounter and communion, and we are sure many people left with a new dedication to how they can still give all, keeping young people at heart.