AEC Makes Vocations a Priority

Archbishop Robert Rivas OP of Castries, St Lucia, will head a Vocations Commission being set up by the Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) in an effort to increase vocations to the priesthood and religious life, in the face of dwindling numbers across the region.

Years ago, the AEC appointed then Bishop Charles Dufour of Montego Bay, Jamaica, as vocations director liaison. However, with the dire need for priests/religious in the region, Caribbean bishops decided at their recent annual plenary meeting in Guadeloupe to make vocations a priority.

Archbishop Robert Rivas OP

The terms of agreement for the Vocations Commission are being prepared to be sent to the relevant Vatican department for approval.

Some of the ideas to promote vocations include: an annual vocations camp in each diocese; a Vocations Day; a Vocations Week; a study day for clergy on vocations promotion; meetings with parents of those interested in learning more about the priesthood/religious life; and monthly votive Masses for vocations, daily family prayer for vocations and prayer during the weekend liturgies. Dioceses will also be encouraged to allocate resources in their annual budget for fostering vocations.

The April 13-20 Guadeloupe meeting also approved a strategic plan of the AEC’s Education Commission, headed by Bishop Gabriel Malzaire of Roseau, Dominica.

The mission of the Commission is “To provide the framework for our Catholic education institutions to form Disciples of Christ and leaders in society.” The core business of Catholic education was defined as “Christian formation” and the Commission’s key areas of responsibility were identified as Governance, Values, Formation and Curriculum.

Meanwhile, the AEC is currently gearing up for two meetings later this month in Guyana. Representatives of diocesan Justice and Peace Commissions will meet to discuss domestic violence in the region from May 22-23. The second meeting, scheduled for May 24, will be for diocesan representatives of the VIRTUS programmes to address the prevention of sexual abuse of minors.

Participants who were scheduled to attend one or the other have been invited to arrive earlier or stay longer in order to attend both meetings.

– compiled from a report by AEC General Secretary Rev Mike James


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