Vocations in the Catholic Church in North America

Thursday, April 18 2002

The Third Continental Congress on Vocations opened in Montreal today with the theme Vocación, Don de Dieu, Given for God’s People.

This Congress, which will end on Sunday, will mark the first time such an event is being held to discuss and reflect on the current situation on vocations and their future for North America. The American and Canadian episcopal conferences are organizing this event in collaboration with the Vatican and it will result in a pastoral plan for vocations that can be used by all dioceses and religious communities in North America. Suggestions from 150 mini-congresses held over the past six months across North America will play an important part in the discussions.

More than 1100 delegates from every region of North America are attending the congress. They include people actively involved in vocations work, those involved with youth ministry, young people, families of candidates, educators, Catholic associations, clergy, religious, members of secular institutes and more.

Five keynote presentations will help the participants paint a portrait of vocations including their biblical and theological foundations; the culture of vocations; vocations and young adults; and vocations and the future of the Church. Fifteen workshops are also planned to help delegates in their search for innovative approaches to promoting vocations, accompanying candidates in their vocational quest, the use of new technology, the role of the family and more.

The Third Continental Congress on Vocations is being held at the request of Pope John II. Two earlier Congresses were held in Latin America in 1994 and in Europe in 1997.

The Congress aims to promote vocations to the ordained ministry and consecrated life, unify efforts for the Church in North America in its commitment to identify, help and support vocations, and to welcome future “workers to the harvest.”