From 10-11 May 2016, representatives responsible for Vocations within the European Bishops’ Conferences gathered in Brussels to consider the future of vocations ministry in Europe. At the meeting Father Emil Parafiniuk, delegate for vocations from Poland, was elected as coordinator of the European Vocations Service (EVS).
Father Emil was ordained in 2008 and has been secretary of the Commission for Vocations in Poland for three years. Commenting after his election he said, “I am delighted to be working with an international team, representing the Church in very different situations and promoting a culture of vocations throughout Europe”.
Father Christopher Jamison OSB, director of the national office for vocations for England and Wales, and Sister Nathalie Becquart, Xavière, director of the national service for youth, evangelisation and vocations in France, were elected as vice- coordinators.
The meeting was attended by 22 participants, including Father Willie Purcell, the National Coordinator for Diocesan Vocations Ireland and Father Colm O’Mahony, from Vocations Ireland. Bishop Oscar Cantoni, Bishop of Crema (Italy) and President of EVS presided at the meeting, which had a programme including an open debate about the current situation and the future of EVS. This debate was further fed by a presentation of the national strategies for vocations in four countries: France, Poland, Romania, and England and Wales. The task of accompanying young people emerged as a key feature of vocations work and so the participants look forward to a symposium on this theme in Barcelona in 2017, which will bring together bishops and national delegates for five pastoral fields: catechesis, school, university, youth and vocations.
It was mentioned several times by the participants that it is not enough to work for vocations, that prayer for vocations should come first. Bishop Jean Kockerols, Auxilliary Bishop of Mechelen-Brussels, joined the participants for the celebration of the Eucharist, whilst Bishop Oscar Cantoni led the concluding prayer, which included a remembrance of the victims of the recent atrocities witnessed by the people of the city of Brussels.
The meeting was promoted by the European Vocations Service (EVS) in collaboration with CCEE.