Way of Giving and Gratitude
By Giftren M. Codaste – Lay Promoter of Vocation – Dumaguete
This verse from the Gospel of Saint Matthew 22: 14 guide me to understand the mission and vision of the vocation ministry. Being in this ministry for quite some time made me realized the challenge to find possible candidates to consider seminary life. The invitation of the world made it more difficult for young people nowadays to see the beauty brought by the seminary formation – and in the process purify their intentions and desire for priesthood or missionary life. That’s the reason why lay vocation promoters are being motivated to share the call of Christ which is to be “. . . fishers of men” (Matthew 4: 19).
One of our activities in Dumaguete Community is the Saturday Evenings with Redemptorists. Every month, on the 3rd and 4th Saturday evenings will be dedicated to help young people to discover and discern God’s calling in their lives. On these evenings the Redemptorist Community opens its doors to those seeking guidance in their life and vocation. Starting at 7:00 PM at the Balay sa Kahilum, we offer opportunities devoted for scripture reflections, inputs and faith sharing. To facilitate this process a guest is invited representing the various facets of career path and life experience. A Redemptorist priest will also be available for pastoral guidance and counseling. Together with Fr. Ryan Joseph Parantar C.Ss.R, the local vocation director, we set this new activity with the understanding to look into the different perspective of what the Church could offer to young people of today. In this way, we believe that it would be appealing and interesting for lay persons to join this unique activity guided by spiritual and human formation. We look forward that it will help them to realize their purpose in life as well as their vocation in the process.
Last November 2015 was the celebration of the Vocation Month of the Redemptorist Congregation. In connection with this, the vocation ministry announced and distributed leaflets in the Church to promote the Saturday Evenings with the Redemptorists. There were some inquiries and we are hopeful that there will be people to attend the gatherings. The first activity was on last November 21, 2015. I was a bit worried and anxious since I have no idea that there will be participants to attend. I already prepared the venue, input and bought snacks. Evening came and I was preparing at my office. Suddenly, a young man entered and asked me where will be the venue for the activity. I told him the place and ask him if he already had his dinner. He answered yes and still waiting for his friends to come and joined. At that moment all the negative feelings was gone and I was full of hope and excitement to start the activity. Indeed, God provides. After sometime, several people arrived and there were almost 20 participants attended the activity. Some were college students, youth and walk-ins.
The session was all about knowing God and me. This would set the tone for the upcoming sessions to help them realize first their knowledge and relationship with God. They were very eager to participate in the activities and afterwards shared their life stories with their peers. It was an unforgettable experience for me witnessing the work of God amongst us. Our work bears fruit and is shared to those people who are in need. In relation with the activity, it was through the help of this ministry that the fruit grown by Jesus was shared. In my own opinion, this is one way of giving ourselves the chance to journey with other people and be inspired as well as to inspire them. As the common saying would say, “We could not give what we do not have”, and in our case what we have is none other than Jesus Himself. That is the reason why this ministry is so special and must give more importance in the Church because this would be the garden of God where the seed of their vocation begin to sprout and nurtured. Whether it is for religious, marriage life or single blessedness this ministry tries to lead them of where God will be putting them in the future – for vocation is a common gift to all of us.
Vocation ministry is a way of giving. That is, giving our time for others to realize their full potential as called by Christ. True enough, vocation ministry is not an easy task since there are many difficulties and challenges that can be frustrating sometimes. It is like we used the method of marketing strategy but in the context of the Church. But the only thing that keeps us going on is we rely on the Spirit of God at work in us. This is totally Gods work and what we can do is only hope and prays. Since giving entails openness and generosity, as a vocation promoter we must accept all the things that have been given to us and surrender to Christ all our efforts and hard work. What we can do is to invest all our energies and skills for the benefit of all and of the Church.
The Saturday Evenings with the Redemptorist is just one way to help young persons discover themselves and know their purpose more deeply in the presence of God. But at the top of it all, we must be thankful for calling all these young ones showing that they themselves are making a difference. And it boosts our strength in gratitude “to fish more people and be laborers of His bountiful harvest.”
In this way, we are so grateful enough to work harder with happiness and joy. As we gather them gradually, by then we will find potential individuals whose willing to commit and live a meaningful life with Christ. In return, they will be also giving themselves to others with full of gratitude in their hearts. What a wonderful blessing it would be for the Church, inspiring each one to be instruments of Gods’ plentiful Redemption.
May the Good Lord grant us always the spirit of perseverance and motivate us always to work with hope, faith and generosity. May this ministry be an instrument also to move and inspire more young people to commit themselves to Christ and share the Gospel to others.