Vocations Congress begins in Wollongong

The NSW Diocese of Wollongong's Vocations Congress continues this week with many Catholics travelling long distances to take part in the celebrations.

The Congress, entitled "Called to Follow the Son", picks up Benedict XVI's challenge at the World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne, Germany: "Anyone who has discovered Christ must lead others to him. A great joy cannot be kept to oneself. It has to be passed on."

The Congress at the weekend included an evening of Taize at the St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, a "Youthfest" which attracted 350 young participants and the "Festival of Faith".

"The [Taize] evening is already presenting little revelations, conversions, changed pre-conceptions of what it means to be present and in communion with God and others gathered to pray and listen in the spirit of Taize," one organiser said.

Organisers estimate around 3000-4000 people attended the Festival of Faith - a showcase of parish communities, faith groups, religious congregations and institutes.

The Congress will continue this week with an evening of contemplative prayer tonight, mass and morning tea to celebrate consecrated religious life on Friday, and the day of discernment on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Sydney Archdiocesan Vocations Director, Fr Anthony Fisher, will tonight help celebrate the 800th anniversary of his own Dominican Family with the beginning of a lecture series entitled "800 Years of Preaching: Saints and Sinners of the Dominican Order".

The lecture series is presented by the Sydney Inner-City Laity group and commemorates the first gathering of Dominican Family members 800 years ago.

Bishop Fisher will examine many noteworthy figures in the Order's history from the great saints to the infamous.

The first lecture will take place tonight at St Benedict's Church on Sydney's Broadway from 6.30pm.

What a Beginning! (Vocations Congress Update Diocese of Wollongong - Monday 15 May 2006)
Saints and Sinners - Bishop Anthony Fisher helps celebrate 800 years of the Dominican Order (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 15/5/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Vocations Congress
Order of Preachers Australia

Religious vocations can come from anyplace (Catholic News Service 8/5/06)
Pope Benedict XVI: On Vocations (Zenit 7/5/06)
Would-be ministers swamp Anglicans (Sydney Morning Herald 23/4/06)
Young men considering priesthood choose between 'God or the Girl' on A&E (Catholic News Agency 6/4/06)
Men let cameras in on their vocation discernment for cable TV series (Catholic News Service 31/3/06)
Benedict XVI Urges Prayers for Vocations (Zenit 30/3/06)
Pope says people do not need to be perfect to be called to a vocat
New vocations film encourages priests to be 'Fishers of Men' (Catholic News Service 16/3/06)
Reaching out with seminary website (Catholic Weekly 19/3/06)
New Vocations Film Encourages Priests To Be Fishers Of Men (US Conference of Catholic Bishops 13/3/06)

17 May 2006