Rome (Italy). The National Conference for Vocations organized by the National Office for the Pastoral Care of Vocations (UNPV) of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) on the theme “Making history” took place online from 3 to 5 January, an expression taken from the Encyclical of Pope Francis Fratelli Tutti (FT116).
The Conference is the last step of a three-year itinerary which in 2021, focused reflection on vocation as responsibility: “The vocation, history, the future call for responsibility, that typically human ability to respond which involves the freedom of each, our hands, our actions”, explained Fr. Michele Gianola, Undersecretary of the CEI and Director of the UNPV, in an article in the newspaper Avvenire (4 January 2022).
Sr. Maria Di Caro and Sr. Rosanna Zammataro, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the Sicilian Province Mother Maddalena Morano (ISI), tell about their experience as participants in the Conference:
“There are many religious, lay people, families, consecrated persons who participated in the Conference and immersed themselves like us in a texture of experiences, suggestions, reflections full of meaningful and useful content for the journey of the sequela at the service of people whom the Lord gives us to meet.
The interventions of the speakers were accompanied by useful materials for further study and the possibility of interacting by filling in Google forms or asking questions at the meeting through the Zoom platform. The various moments were characterized by a spirit of communion and participation that was not taken for granted, keeping in mind the online mode. This beautiful atmosphere also found expression in the prayer vigil on the evening of 4 January enriched by testimonies of life and vocation.
The work began with the introduction of Fr. Michele Gianola and developed over the three days, starting with contributions and reflections proposed by authoritative and passionate speakers: “A possible story” by Paolo Bizzetti; “Discernment in community” by Giovanni Grandi; “Vocation and paths of freedom” by Msgr. Paolo Martinelli; “In his image and likeness” by Father Franco Annicchiarico; “From making history to becoming history” by Chiara Scardicchio; “Building the city” by Card. Gualtiero Bassetti.
Making history is an invitation to be protagonists of our choices. A fundamental condition is to place oneself in an attitude of listening, to be able to live in silence, to let oneself be met in depth by the Lord who loves and calls, in an attitude of trust in the Holy Spirit who works in us, in history, in the people we meet.
Making history is not thinking that God values us for our ‘doing’. It means thinking that we are called to co-create, to participate in the plan that springs from the Incarnation. Doing, not to produce services, but to offer, to be fruitful, with openness and creativity, without having the presumption of already knowing the way to go, but with the humility of looking for it every day without the haste of wanting everything immediately, … to allow the Spirit to act.
Participating in this conference was an enriching opportunity that responds to a strongly felt and necessary need as Daughters of Mary Help of Christians to remain in a state of continuous formation and research in the light of the Word, to walk with young people entrusted to us and with whom we share the journey and accompany as traveling companions in the desire for the good that inhabits hearts”.
In the closing address of the conference, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, President of the CEI, states, “Vocation is like the person: unique and unrepeatable. God loves diversity, not the homologous. The important thing is that those who respond feel part of a whole,” underlining the shared mission in the Church and the significance of witnesses who “have deeply responded to their vocation”.