Friday, 27 December 2013

Hakal - A publication in Gujarati for Gujarat Jesuit Vocation Service

 This publication is meant for the young Gujarati speaking boys anywhere in the world. For more information contact

cel 09426 351 537

Wish all our friends a very happy Christmas

Send your own drawings for a new year greeting.
The picture above is done by a local artist in Ahmedabad.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Memorable Hakal [ Vocation ] Camp in Unai, Gujarat,India

Memorable Hakal [ Vocation ] Camp in Unai, Gujarat,India

Glad to inform that we had a very successful Hakal Camp in Unai.
There were 81 boys who came from different missions of South Gujarat.
A great experience of “JOINING HANDS” to work together to get
Good and Many vocations to the land of Gujarat.

We enjoyed the hospitality  and generosity of the Unai fathers and they truly left no stone unturned to make us feel at home and left every possible facility at our disposal.
Fr Jitu and Schs Brijesh (Guj), Sandeep (Haz), Navin (Pat) gave their very best to make the camp a memorable experience.

We do have another Hakal Camp for the SK, North and Central Gujarat boys.
Dates : 18th Nov (4 pm) to 20th Nov (2 pm)
Place : Jeevan Darshan, Vadodara
Boys : from 8th std to 12th

Note: If there are some boys from South Gujarat who for any reason could not attend the Unai Hakal Camp, they can be sent to Jeevan Darshan.

In gratitude to all those who are “JOINING HANDS” to continue the great mission that Jesus himself started. Let us continue to be a “fire that enkindles other fires” in all that we do.

Sudhir Chettiar, sj
Vocation Promotor , Gujarat Jesuits 

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Jesuits : Our Universal Vocation

The Jesuit Curia in Rome. The dome of St. Peter's Basilica can be seen in the distance.

Our universal vocation: to go anywhere in the world where there is hope for God’s greater glory.
Our Universal Vocation
Although most people encounter Jesuits locally in schools and other ministries, the Society of Jesus is in fact a missionary order—the largest such order in the Catholic Church. Fr. Adolfo Nicol├ís, S.J., Superior General of the Jesuits, has reaffirmed what he calls “the vision of our universal vocation, which is “to go anywhere in the world where there is hope for God’s greater glory.”

International Jesuit ministries are seeking to nurture hope in places that would seem to offer little of it. Case in point: refugee camps, where the Jesuit Refugee Service sponsors schools for children who often spend years in those troubled surroundings, along with many other services. Hope is found in the myriad works of justice, peace, and care for creation—the Jesuit social ministries described at greater length here.

There are also primarily spiritual ministries carried out by the worldwide Society of Jesus.

These include the Apostleship of Prayer, which is essentially a global prayer group with daily online offerings. The apostleship has been called “the pope’s own prayer group,” because it also circulates his personal intentions—on behalf of priestly vocations, for example, or mutual respect among world religions. Another spiritual ministry is the Christian Life Communities, a Jesuit-sponsored lay association that has nurtured small, faith-sharing groups in some 60 countries.

A less typical ministry is the Vatican Observatory, one of the oldest astronomical research institutions in the world. It is run by Jesuit astronomers who peer through their telescopes in Tucson, Arizona, and at Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer residence.

In addition, the Society of Jesus has crucial responsibilities in Rome on behalf of the Universal Church. Particularly significant among these is the education and training of future Church leaders.

The Jesuits carry out this task at a number of institutions including the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute, and the Pontifical Oriental Institutes. Those three now serve more than 3,500 students from 120 countries on six continents. The students are preparing for service as priests, sisters, religious brothers, and lay leaders. They have a strong impact on the Church: graduates of the three institutions include one fourth of the world’s current bishops and half of the cardinals who voted in the most recent papal conclave.

American Jesuits are actively involved in all of the international ministries. Their provinces or regional jurisdictions take responsibility for ministry in regions not currently served by a Jesuit province abroad. The American provinces also partner with their provincial counterparts, especially in developing nations, on the full range of ministries, in what are often referred to as “twinning relationships.”

Men for others

Statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Fordham University, Bronx, NY.

"It is therefore essential to give young Jesuits a human, spiritual, intellectual and ecclesial formation as deep, strong and vibrant as possible to allow each of them to achieve our mission in the world with a proper attitude of service in the Church."
Men for Others
It generally takes three years of law school to become a lawyer, four years of medical school to become a doctor (prior to residency), and roughly the same length of time to step forward as a candidate for ordained ministry (in most faith communities and religious orders).
Jesuit training is different. It is less a course of study than a journey through several distinct stages of formation, ranging from a two-year novitiate to theological studies to years of fulltime ministry. Through it all, Jesuits immerse themselves in the spiritual and communal practices of their order. They learn to live in God's presence.
For those seeking to be ordained as Jesuit priests, this path of preparation will normally last about a decade. It will last seven or eight years for most Jesuit brothers. That is what it takes to produce men who are trained in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, with the skills to minister to God’s people in a diverse and changing world.
And the training begins only after a period of vocational discernment. A Jesuit spiritual director is involved in helping the young man discern what God is calling him to do, and how best to explore his personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Such reflection could open up a variety of possibilities; a calling to Jesuit ministry is just one of them.
At GC 35 (the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus), Jesuit leaders from around the world explained the purpose of this unfolding process. They declared at the 2008 assembly in Rome: "It is therefore essential to give young Jesuits a human, spiritual, intellectual and ecclesial formation as deep, strong and vibrant as possible to allow each of them to achieve our mission in the world with a proper attitude of service in the Church."
As noted in that statement, Jesuits are trained with a clear view toward the needs of the Church as well as the world. At the same time, this formation is unmistakably personal—centered on the gifts and talents of each Jesuit.
There is a common Jesuit expression—cura personalis, translated from the Latin as “care for the whole person.” It highlights the need to nurture people in all of their dimensions—body, mind, and soul. And it leads the Society of Jesus to focus on the unique potential of each member in formation. In the end, a Jesuit is able to serve the Church and foster an interior relationship with Christ, while pursuing his talent as a math professor. Or in any other walk of professional life.
The journey begins informally, in conversation with a vocation director. That sets in motion a process of reflecting on who God is calling you to be. Click here to contact a vocation director.

Spirituality of the Jesuits

"Ignatius writes the Spiritual Exercises in the cave at Manresa." Painting by Carlos Saenz de Tejada, 1897-1958.

Often described as Ignatius's greatest gift to the world, these exercises unfold a dynamic process of prayer, meditation, and self-awareness.
Finding God in All Things
Throughout much of the world, the Jesuits are best known for their colleges, universities, and high schools. But in a time when many are searching for greater meaning, another aspect of Jesuit life is attracting wide interest. And that is the unique spirituality introduced nearly 500 years ago by St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits.

Ignatius was a Spanish soldier and aristocrat who discerned his calling after suffering nearly fatal wounds on the battlefield. He established the Society of Jesus in 1540, instructing the early Jesuits - to go out and "find God in all things." That is the signature spirituality of the Jesuits.

Ignatian spirituality is grounded in the conviction that God is active in our world. As the great Jesuit paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote: "God is not remote from us. He is at the point of my pen, my pick, my paintbrush, my needle—and my heart and my thoughts." The spiritual path laid out by Ignatius is a way of discerning God's presence in our everyday lives. And doing something about it.

The Jesuits have a handbook for this search. It is The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, composed by the saint before he was even a priest. Often described as Ignatius's greatest gift to the world, these exercises unfold a dynamic process of prayer, meditation, and self-awareness. The basic thrust is to make us more attentive to God's activity in our world, more responsive to what God is calling us to do. Ignatian spiritual directors accompany or guide people through the exercises in retreat houses, parishes and other settings.

One of the most popular Ignatian exercises is the Daily Examen. It's a spiritual self-review that involves prayerfully recollecting moments during the day and reflecting on how God was present at those times, followed by a decision to act in some way. The Examen is concrete: It focuses your mind on segments of time (no more than a day, preferably), and the feelings that stirred within you, at those specific moments. Walk through the five steps of the Examen here.

There are a number of outstanding resources devoted to Ignatian spirituality.  Sacred Space is a popular prayer site run by the Irish Jesuits, and was created by the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus to provide daily online prayers and facilitate prayer requests.  In addition, The Jesuit Post, founded by a group of Jesuit scholastics, provides a contemporary look at Jesus, politics and pop-culture in our secular age.

Ignatian spirituality is not merely an inward journey, much less a self-absorbed one. It aims to bring people closer to God and more deeply into the world—with gratitude, passion, and humility—not away from it. Ignatius called on the Jesuits to be "contemplatives in action." Today, Jesuits and their lay collaborators work with people in many walks of life, such as education and business. They help nurture "men and women for others."

What we jesuits do.

Mr. Vincent Giacabazi, SJ, teaching Spanish at De Smet Jesuit High School in St. Louis.

Jesuits and their friends are ministering to people in the hard-to-reach places of the heart.
One Mission, Many Ministries
Jesuits are widely known for their colleges and universities, as well as high schools. And that’s no surprise. Education is a cornerstone of the Society of Jesus, and has been since the late 1540s, when Jesuit schools began spreading through Europe.
But names like “Georgetown” and “Gonzaga” and “Marquette” do not tell a full story of Jesuit ministries. The works are far broader in scope, extending from middle schools in the inner city to refugee camps near Iraq, from retreat houses with an ocean view to parishes next door to college campuses. Jesuits—together with their lay collaborators—are called to these and many other ministries.
In his message to the 35th General Congregation of Jesuits in 2008 (known simply as “GC 35”), Pope Benedict XVI declared: “The Church needs you, counts on you, and continues to turn to you with confidence, particularly to reach the geographical and spiritual places where others do not reach or find it difficult to reach.”
During the first days of his papacy, in March 2013, Pope Francis added his heartfelt prayers. The first Jesuit pontiff asked that the Lord “illuminate and accompany all Jesuits” along these paths.
Geographically speaking, Jesuits serve where needs are greatest -- from underserved neighborhoods in East Los Angeles to developing schools in Micronesia.  They and their many collaborators are involved in myriad international works through such flagship organizations as the Jesuit Refugee Service.
Spiritually speaking, Jesuits and their friends are ministering to people in the hard-to-reach places of the heart. They are doing so as military chaplains, helping soldiers find meaning far from home; as prison chaplains, accompanying those behind bars in a journey of reconciliation; as hospital chaplains, praying for healing together with patients and families; and in many other pastoral settings.
The followers of St. Ignatius Loyola are also exploring the frontiers of mission and ministry.
“Thus as this world changes, so does the context of our mission; and new frontiers beckon that we must be willing to embrace,” the Jesuits declared at their 2008 General Congregation. This spirit is finding expression, for example, in the recent phenomenon of Jesuit middle schools in hard-pressed urban neighborhoods of the United States. Other examples include interreligious dialogue in countries torn by religious violence, and the struggle for environmental justice.

International day of vocations

Society of Jesus Celebrates International Day of Vocations
November 5, 2013 — Today, Nov. 5, is the feast of All Saints and Blessed of the Society of Jesus and also the International Day of Vocations in the Society of Jesus.
Jesuits are blessed to continue to have prayerful men with generous hearts who desire to labor in and for the kingdom of God. Today, Jesuits recognise the ongoing need to engage men who might be called to religious life.
Within the Society of Jesus, there is a great variety of voices and an array of talents, but all are at the service of the call and the mission. Whether teaching, preaching, giving the sacraments or praying for the Society, the voices are varied but there is one message: To love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
If you or someone you know is discerning a vocation calling to join the Jesuits in service, we encourage you to visit for more information on the Society of Jesus.
Today, on the International Day of Vocations, offers a prayer for vocations to the Society of Jesus:

in the name of Jesus,
through the power of Your Holy Spirit,
we pray that You inflame the hearts of men
with courage and trust
and the desire to labor for Your Kingdom
as Jesuits.
We ask You
through the intercession of Mary, our Mother,
St. Ignatius, and all Your saints,
to bless the Society of Jesus
with bountiful vocations
that it may continue to serve Your church
with passion and zeal.

May Your will be done.

The Jesuits

The Jesuits
We are the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic order of priests and brothers founded half a millennium ago by the soldier-turned-mystic Ignatius Loyola. But you could call us "the Jesuits" as we have been called since early in our history.

In the vision of our founder, we seek to "find God in all things." We dedicate ourselves to the “greater glory of God" and the good of all humanity. And we do so gratefully in collaboration with others who share our values, including laypersons. They have become part of the “we,” the extended Jesuit family.

With close to 17,000-plus priests and brothers worldwide, we are the largest male religious order in the Catholic Church. We are pastors, teachers, and chaplains. We are also doctors, lawyers, and astronomers, among many other roles in Church and society. In our varied ministries, we care for the whole person: body, mind, and soul. And especially in our education ministries, we seek to nurture "men and women for others."

Jesuits draw on the rich tradition of Ignatian spirituality and reflection. In our retreat centers,parishes, campus ministries, and other settings, we offer these resources to all who want to discern God’s presence in their lives. At the same time, we also aim to be “contemplatives in action,” people who bring this spirituality into the wide world. That includes our work on behalf of global justice, peace, and dialogue.

As members of a religious order, Jesuits take three vows—of poverty, chastity, and obedience—and a fourth vow of obedience with regard to mission.  In other words, Jesuits must be ready to accept whatever mission the Pope requires, a vow that is reflective of our broader dedication to the universal Church, and to the greater good of all people from all faiths and cultures.

Our collaboration with the laity flows from our personal relationships with Christ. We see ourselves as companions of Jesus, and we invite others to join with us, as friends in the Lord. Together we build up the body of Christ.

With our friends and partners, we also reach out to a broadly diverse world because that’s where God is. From experience and reflection, we know that meaning, value, and divine purpose can be discovered "in all things."

Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America - 10/21/13

America - 10/28/13

America - 11/4/13

HistoryMission and MinistriesStructureGlobal CommunityProtecting Children

Monday, 14 October 2013


The people with whom I have no patience are those who think clergy are abnormal because they are somehow or other superhuman beings with special access to God, possessing special wisdom and power and deserving special treatment. Among those who think this way are too many clergy.

Shocking revelation: priests are normal people

Now, can you please let them down off their pedestal?
  • Fr William Grimm, Tokyo, Japan - October 14, 2013
When I was in high school, I had an after-school and summer job delivering medical supplies to infirmaries and clinics in department stores, ships and office buildings in New York City.
Over time, I got to know many of the receptionists at those places. Lugging boxes around 'the concrete jungle' as I went from place to place in New York’s hot, humid summer made the air conditioned reception areas of office buildings attractive places for a short break.
One summer day, a receptionist at the headquarters of an insurance company asked what my plans for the future were. I told her that I was entering a seminary at the end of the summer holiday.
With a shocked expression on her face, she said, “but you’re normal! Why would you do something like that?”
There are people who think there is something abnormal about priests. Some think we are ignorant, crazy and possibly dangerous fanatics. The sexual abuse of children by bishops and priests and its cover-up have given them good reasons to think that way. Usually, they have never actually met and talked with any of us. So long as those people are not aggressively ill-mannered, I generally find their attitude no more than mildly annoying, sometimes embarrassing and often even amusing. A bit of conversation, perhaps over a drink, is enough to get them to admit that there might be at least one exception to their rule.
The people with whom I have no patience are those who think clergy are abnormal because they aresomehow or other superhuman beings with special access to God, possessing special wisdom and power and deserving special treatment. Among those who think this way are too many clergy.
I once saw a book for seminarians that warned against frequent contact with lay folk lest they realize that “priest eggs” (as they are sometimes called in Japan), are normal human beings.Clergy often receive special treatment, more often than not the sort of treatment one might give an imbecile demigod who is semi-divine, but incapable of handling the normal demands of life — like picking up a restaurant check.
Too many of the objects of special treatment rather like life on a pedestal. Some expect such treatment. There are many who shape their lives around being ever ready to receive it. I’ve even met a few sorry cases who became priests in order to have a place upon the pedestal.
There are others (the majority, I hope, but sometimes I wonder) who try to climb down from the pedestal upon which others put them. But people try to shove them back. Why is that? Why do so many people want their clergy to be specially treated and insulated from life? Is it a bribe?
If so, what do people gain by their deference, their special treatment toward religious leaders? In bribing the preachers, do they unconsciously hope to bribe God? Are they looking for some sort of payback from God? Does treating clergy as children allow people to not take them seriously? Perhaps they are hoping that by putting preachers outside the responsibilities of everyday life, they can keep them from applying the Word of God to those situations of everyday life where they would rather not have to hear what God expects of us.
Does it matter? Yes, it does, because in addition to the sacraments, clergy do have something important to offer the Church in its mission to the world: guidance, education, example. Giving example is not unique to them, of course — every Christian is an example of how to live as a disciple of Christ — but by being publicly recognized representatives of the community, the clergy are in a position to attract attention from those who want or need to see the servant Church in action. But, how can someone who acts or is treated as nobility show what it is to be a servant? How can someone treated as an incompetent instruct?
So, what shall we do? We can probably do little about clerical careerists who likely have purple piping on their bathrobes and gold cufflinks on their pajamas. Settling for the material and emotional “perks” of ministry and missing out on the spiritual excitement and rewards of real service is their self-inflicted punishment.
We can, however, see what we do to perpetuate the semi-deification of the clergy. For starters, imagine asking a bishop, priest or deacon to help wash the dishes. If the thought startles you, ask why it does and if it should.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, recently told that he was surprised that the media is making a fuss about an interview with Pope Francis “that looks very normal”. The cardinal may have missed the point that normalcy from a pope (as from Cardinal Tagle, himself reportedly a refreshingly normal man) is newsworthy. We have a pope who probably need not be asked to help with the dishes because he would volunteer to do them.
The unseemly spectacle of hypocritical bishops and priests around the world falling over themselves to praise the new pope’s normalcy when only months ago they sang equally loud paeans to amonarchical papacy and hierarchy is actually a cause for some hope. Whether it be pandering or real conversion, we may be able to expect to see clergy in the kitchen who never before knew where it was. They may find that they like having soapy hands.
And then they will be better able to lead us into the dirty places of our world to bring the cleansing Word. ###

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Frequently Asked Questions on Vocations

Frequently Asked Questions on Vocations

Why did the NRVC commission this study on religious vocations?
Prior to this landmark study, the only information we had on religious vocations in the United States was anecdotal. The purpose of this study is to identify and understand who is entering religious life today and to find out which religious institutes are receiving and retaining new members. From this information, our goal is to identify best practices in vocation promotion and religious formation. It is hoped this important data will inform religious institutes as they develop their vocation plans in the future, and bring a greater awareness of vocations to the wider church.

Does this study have anything to do with the Vatican’s apostolic visitation of women religious or the doctrinal assessment of LCWR?
This study is totally independent of these investigations. Funding for our study was obtained in December 2007, and the first phase of our research was well underway prior to the announcement of the apostolic visitation.

Why was there such a surge in religious vocations in the last century?
If you consider the continuum of religious life, the extraordinary number of men and women who entered religious life during the last century was an anomaly.  Historically, religious sisters, brothers, and priests have always been a small number of the Catholic population.  Some contributing factors to this surge in larger numbers were the limited opportunities for church ministry prior to Vatican II, a large influx of Catholic immigrants entering the U.S., the Catholic Church was growing in prominence and respect, and the similarity in values of the Catholic Church with U.S. societal values.

What is a vocation?
Many people use the word vocation (from the Latin vocare, meaning “to call”) in reference to the call to be a priest, sister, or brother. However, the Catholic understanding of vocation is much broader: every baptized person has a vocation—a call—to love and serve God. How you choose to live out that vocation is what each person must discern. Some feel called to live as single or married laypeople; others choose consecrated life and join a secular institute or religious community (as sisters, priests, or brothers); still others choose ordination as deacons or diocesan priests.

What is a sister or nun?
A sister or nun is a woman who belongs to a religious order, or community. Many people use the word nun interchangeably with sister, but technically nuns are those who live a cloistered (or enclosed) monastic life; whereas sisters serve in an active ministry. After a period of preparation (called formation) sisters and nuns take lifelong vows. Usually they take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience; that is, they promise to live simply, to live celibately, and to follow the will of God through their community.

What is a brother?
A brother belongs to a religious community of men. A brother takes religious vows, usually poverty, chastity, and obedience.  A brother’s life revolves around prayer, communal living in a religious community or monastery, and a ministry within the Church and society.  A brother is not ordained to the priesthood, and thus does not perform the sacramental duties of a priest. Some men’s communities include both brothers and priests, and both have equal respect and status in the community.

What is a monk?
A monk is the male member of a monastic or contemplative order.  Some monks make solemn vows. Monasticism is a particular form of religious life built around a rule, such as the Rule of Benedict, and the Divine Office, a set of prayers and psalms chanted or sung at various points in the day. Women who choose monastic life are called sisters or nuns.

What is a friar?
A friar is a male member of a mendicant order, such as the Dominicans or Franciscans, although the term is sometimes extended to others in the monastic tradition.

What is the difference between a diocesan priest and a priest from a religious order?
All priests are ordained to the priesthood through the Sacrament of Holy Orders. However, a man may choose to be a diocesan priest (sometimes called a secular priest) or a religious priest (or order priest).

If he chooses to be a diocesan priest, then he enters the diocesan seminary system, and once ordained typically serves within his own diocese (a geographic territory designated by the Catholic Church). He is appointed to his ministry—most often parish work—by the bishop of that diocese. A diocesan priest is accountable to his bishop and the people he serves.

If a man chooses religious priesthood, he joins a men’s religious community. While he may perform parish ministry, he generally serves in other ways, typically doing work related to the mission and ministries of his religious congregation. A religious priest is accountable to his major superior and the other men in his community for his religious life and his local bishop and the people he serves for his priestly duties.

Why does there seem to be fewer religious communities?
Religious communities have always had an ebb and flow since the days of the early church. The needs of the time and the movement of the Holy Spirit are the impetus for new communities to form and others to fade away. Today in the U.S., while many religious communities are merging or consolidating, others are being founded or are attracting new members. In addition, there is a rising interest in religious life among North American Catholics, as noted in recent VISION Vocation Guide surveys in 2007, 2008, and 2009.

Are young people still choosing to become priests, sisters, and brothers?
Yes, but in fewer numbers.  Historically, religious have always been fewer in number.  Following an unusual surge in the mid-20th century, the number of men and women religious today more closely reflects a number consistent with the beginning of the last century.  According to the 2009 NRVC/CARA study, 71 percent of those who have entered religious life and are currently in initial formation are under 40. And of the more than 7,000 people who have filled out the NRVC-sponsored profiles this year 67 percent are under 40.

Are young adults pressured to join a religious order if they request information?
Trained vocation ministers adhere to a code of ethics that specifically encourages them to allow inquirers a sense of true freedom to choose or not choose religious life or priesthood without any pressure or expectation from others. In fact, extreme pressure to enter religious life is a canonical impediment to admission to vows.  Online websites, discussion boards, and email exchanges allow inquirers to seek information anonymously until they feel prepared to make more personal contact.

Most vocation directors acknowledge that their role is to accompany those in discernment, not to recruit them. In addition vocation directors have a duty to their communities and the church to properly assess and offer honest feedback about a candidate's fitness for religious life.

What is a vocation director?
A vocation director is designated by a religious institute to promote vowed membership, to help others discern their vocation, and to oversee the application process of new members entering the community as a postulant.  They assist those who are considering the possibility of religious life by providing support, discernment counseling, and information. The Vocation director for a religious congregation answers to the elected superiors of their congregation. The National Religious Vocation Conference is the professional organization for vocation directors of religious communities.

Vocation Directors who work on behalf of a diocese answer to the bishop. They have  their own professional organization, the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors.)

What is the process to enter religious life?
Typically someone interested in religious life goes through a discernment process where they prayerfully consider the call to religious life, explore vocation options, contact religious communities, and eventually begin a more formal process of discernment with a particular religious institute.

Once a candidate chooses to apply to a community and is accepted, he or she typically begins a formation process starting with postulancy or candidacy, in which the person is introduced to the communal life, ministries, and mission of the community. Following postulancy comes the novitiate, where a person is formally admitted to a religious institute. The novitiate is an extended time of prayer, study and spirituality, which usually lasts for at least one year. After the novitiate, the novice is admitted to temporary vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.  This period of temporary commitment allows for further discernment before he or she makes perpetual profession of vows within a given religious institute.  

How many religious institutes are there in the U.S., and how many priests, sisters, brothers?
There are approximately 900 separate religious institutes in the United States.
Total priests in 2008: 40,580
Diocesan priests: 27,614
Religious priests: 12,966
Permanent deacons in 2008: 15,893
Religious brothers in 2008: 5,001
Religious sisters in 2008: 61,855
These and additional statistics are found on the CARA website.

How do religious communities screen candidates?
Religious institutes usually require an extensive process of screening candidates to religious life, which usually includes extensive interviews, background checks, and medical and psychological testing. Candidates must demonstrate a lived commitment to the Catholic faith and an appropriate level of maturity and mental and physical health that the rigors of religious life require. Candidates who do not meet specific standards set by both Church law and the individual religious institute are not admitted to religious life.

Can married people enter religious? Widowed and divorced?
Religious life in the Roman Catholic Church is reserved for celibates only. Some religious institutes have accepted widowed and divorced people who have had their marriages properly annulled by the Church.

What are the vows of religious life?
The main vows for men and women in religious life are chastity, poverty, and obedience. Individual institutes may require additional vows.

How do priests, nuns, and brothers spend their days?
Men and women religious have an obligation of personal and communal prayer, including daily Mass. They live in community, usually in one house. Apostolic communities, including missionaries, are engaged in ministries, such as healthcare, education, and social service. Contemplative communities are committed to daily prayer and some form of manual labor.

What is the National Religious Vocation Conference?
The National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) was founded in 1988 as a professional organization of men and women committed to vocation awareness, invitation, and discernment to consecrated life as brothers, sisters, and priests. The NRVC has an annual membership of over 1,300 women and men, most of whom are vocation ministers for religious congregations. The organization is divided into 14 regions plus international members. The NRVC serves its members by providing education, resources, and services for professional growth.

What is VISION Vocation Guide?
VISION Vocation guide is a print, online, and digital resource for those interested in entering religious life. Published by TrueQuest Communications on behalf of the National Religious Vocation Conference, VISION is distributed throughout the U.S. and Canada in print and around the world in its digital format. VISION articles and features are also available in Spanish and French online. The magazine is in its 22 year of publication. In 2006, VISION launched its popular service which assists those discerning a religious vocation to narrow their search for the right community. An annual Survey on Vocations helps track current trends.


   Rev. John A. Hardon, S.J.
   SRV Chaplain

   A religious vocation is a special grace that God
gives to certain persons, calling them to a life of
the evangelical counsels.

   There is more than passing value in stressing
the fact that a religious vocation is a grace. It
is, therefore, a gift and an opportunity that must
be freely responded to if the grace is not to remain
sterile and ineffective. We used to speak, and
perhaps still do, of promoting religious vocations.
 Actually, we cannot promote vocations. 
Either God gives them or they don't exist. 
We can only discoverwhat God has given 
and then foster a vocation that
is presumably there.

   But how do you discover a true vocation? The
expression "true vocation" is not casual. It is
critically important in an age when so many
once-promising vocations seem to have been lost.

   What are some typical features of a true
vocation to the religious life? I would emphasize
especially three:

   (1) a strong faith in the Catholic Church and
   her teaching, shown by a firm loyalty to the
   Vicar of Christ;

   (2) a love of prayer, at least the capacity for
   developing a desire for prayer; and

   (3) a readiness to give oneself to a life of
   sacrifice in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.

   The practical question arises of how to
recognize a true vocation to the religious life. The
need for recognizing a vocation is so important
that everything else is secondary. I believe that if
every prospective candidate were to make a private
retreat, even for a few days, under a competent
priest, it would help immensely. The retreat could
be especially geared to a person who thinks that he
or she has a vocation to the religious life. Then,
during the retreat, in an atmosphere of silence and
prayer, ask God to enlighten one's mind as to
whether or not He is calling the person to a life of
Christian perfection. 
 This, in fact, is one of the
original purposes of the Spiritual Exercises of St.
Ignatius: to discover and decide on one's state of

   The future of religious life is very promising,
but the promise depends on certain premises, of
which the first and most important is that God has
given not just the initial call but the assurance of
a lifetime of His supernatural grace to those who
want to serve Him in the religious life.

Copyright (c) 1979, Society for Religious Vocations
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Provided Courtesy of EWTN
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Challenges to Religious life.

Challenges  to Religious life.
Being integrated into a Catholic culture increases the likelihood of the consid
eration of a vocation. There is a correlation that those who attend Catholic schools,
participate in parish youth groups, know a priest, sister, or brother, and are invited
to think about a religious vocation tend to be more open to a religious vocation. The
Church needs to support more structured outreach to younger people so as to ensure
their integration into a Catholic culture.
Educational debt prevents men and women from pursuing a vocation. Every third
person who inquires about religious life has an average student loan of $28,000. We
are losing vocations because of this issue. Seven out of 10 communities have turned
some inquirers away within the last ten years because of educational debt. One third
of communities say that some serious inquirers do not pursue an application because
of their debt, while another one third does not complete their application because of
their student loans.
Only thirty percent of newer entrants to religious life indicate that their parents
very much encouraged them in their desire to pursue a vocation. The Church needs
to provide greater education and structures of support for parents and families in their
vital role of vocation promotion.
Religious life in the United States has traditionally drawn its
membership from
immigrant populations. Those who may consider a vocation today
may be discour
aged by their citizenship status or by the educational prerequisites for entrance into
a community. The Church needs to look at creative solutions. The National Religious
Vocation Conference plans to conduct a study on the integration of men and women
from diverse cultures and ethnic backgrounds into predominately white, Caucasian
religious institutes


Prepared by the NRVC, February 2013
Survey estimates suggest that as many as 350,000 never married men and 250,000
never married women have seriously considered becoming a priest, sister, or brother.
Those of the millennial generation (born after 1982) are even more likely than the
generation before them to consider a vocation. Surveys also suggest that those entering
religious life today are a little younger than those who were entering ten years ago.
People who attend a Catholic school, know a priest, sister, or brother, or who have
been invited by a priest, sister, or brother to enter the priesthood or religious life are
more likely to consider seriously a religious vocation.
Some religious institutes continue to attract and few are experiencing significant
growth. About 20 percent of religious institutes have more than five members in
Those coming to religious life today tend to be optimistic in their outlook, toler
ant of differences among people, and positive in their attitudes toward authority. They
believe religious life will persevere.
In 2009 there were over 2,600 men and women in religious formation in the
United States. There are more men preparing to be religious priests and brothers
(more than half) than there are women preparing to be sisters (less than half). The
retention rate is 50% (it is higher for women than men).
The “face” of religious life is changing in the U.S. Compared to finally professed
members who are 94% white Caucasian, newer entrants are more likely to be non-
Caucasian: 21% are Hispanic/Latino/a; 14% are Asian or Pacific Islander and 6% are
African, Black, or African American.
Newer entrants are well educated. About 70% have at least a bachelor’s degree
upon entrance. However, one third of applicants have at least $20,000 in educational
debt when they enter, an increasing financial burden for the communities that receive
Religious institutes are more likely to attract newer members if they have a strong
Catholic identity, if they are hopeful about their future, if their members live together
in community, and if they have a structured prayer life.
Although newer members desire ministry (70% were already involved in full or
part-time ministry prior to entrance), their primary reasons for coming to religious life
are a sense of call, a desire to deepen their prayer and spiritual life, and a desire to live
with others who share their faith and values.
Approximately 160 women and men professed perpetual vows in religious life in
2012. About 110 of these newly professed were sisters and nuns

Monday, 29 July 2013

National Jesuit Brothers Committee Institute - "Jesuit Spirituality and ...

Path To Priesthood (playlist)

Path To Priesthood (playlist)

Path To Priesthood (playlist)

Path To Priesthood (playlist)

Path To Priesthood (playlist)

Become a Jesuit

Become a Jesuit
"The Church needs you, relies on you and continues to turn to you with trust, particularly to reach those physical and spiritual places which others do not reach or have difficulty in reaching."
With the words above, His Holiness Benedict XVI reiterated a centuries old charge of the Catholic Church to the Jesuits during the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus in February 2008.
The Society of Jesus is a community of priests and brothers dedicated to the service of God and the Church for the betterment of the world around us. No matter what our work, from university to infirmary to barrio, it is for the glory of God and the help and salvation of souls. Even within the Society of Jesus, there is a great variety of voices, an array of talents, but we are all at the service of the call and the mission. Some are gifted at social analysis, others at immediate and effective working with people at the margins of life or society. Many are scholars, many are missionaries. Whether teaching, preaching, giving the sacraments or praying for the society, our voices are as varied as the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, but there must be one message: to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Responding to God’s Call

Is God Calling Me?

Discernment is a word that describes the process of coming to understand how the Lord is calling me and inviting me to serve Him. It is a spiritual and personal journey.
It is a journey of understanding, of seeing, and acting. The necessary ingredients for discerning a vocation from the Lord are trust, patience, faith, and prayer. These four elements will be constantly challenged during your journey, and will need to be renewed daily.
Ask the Lord for these gifts of the Spirit as you move through the process.

Seven Stages of Vocation Discernment

1.      Attraction or Interest… to serving God
2.      Inquiry… taking the initiative
3.      Information Gathering… being proactive
4.      Discernment… understanding the experience
5.      Confirmation… moving toward a decision
6.      Application Process… submitting the application
7.      Entrance… if accepted, becoming a Jesuit Novice


A man takes the initiative to contact someone for more information (he talks with a Jesuit he knows, sends an e-mail, makes a phone call).
The person will usually contact someone he has met, or he will seek out a Jesuit at a school or parish. Often this involves the first conversation or correspondence with the Vocation Director, who can offer information about the Jesuits, the ministries and life of Jesuits, or the decision-making and application process.

A Community in Christ

While Jesuits live together for the sake of their apostolic work, they also live together for mutual support, challenge and inspiration. These two sets of values must be kept in balance – community for service and community for mutual growth and development. Jesuits must always be willing to move on, to leave one community to help another.
This type of communal living demands a special kind of person. A man who joins the Society of Jesus has to have a social personality and be someone who is capable of living peacefully with a variety of temperaments, personal histories and styles. Jesuit communities incorporate men of all ages, forged into a union of minds and hearts intent on finding where God wants us to be most effective in the work of the Kingdom.
Jesuit community life also requires a healthy, mature independence different from the kind found in a monastic order. Prayer, study and the demands of our apostolic work can lead some to experience periods of solitude in their lives. Yet this solitude is not withdrawal, but mature self-direction, whose ultimate goal is greater service to the Lord.
It is all of these qualities that make Jesuit community life fraternal, personal and ecclesial. In their communal life, Jesuits share a common bond stronger than their differences and learn together how to be men for others within a wider reality of the Church.

Consecrated for Service

Ignatius imagined religious life in nonconventional terms. For Ignatius, his monastery was the world; his prayer, to find God in all things; his work, whatever helped people. In this setting, the vows become instruments to enable Jesuits to do the work of the Kingdom.
By the vow of chastity, a Jesuit consecrates his life entirely to the Lord, promising to live his life in a state of celibate chastity for the Kingdom of God. By this vow, the Jesuit brother or priest becomes available to love and to serve all people, not attached to one person or to one family.
“This life of chastity consecrated to God offers a living witness that Christ can engage human beings in so comprehensive a love and a prophetic reminder that we were created finally for that future life with God in which the children of the resurrection will “neither marry nor give in marriage” (Luke 20:34-36).  In this way living unmarried for the sake of the kingdom of heaven preaches the Gospel in deed rather than words..
The vow of poverty helps a Jesuit to live more simply, renouncing personal ownership of material possessions, seeking greater solidarity with the poor, and sharing things in common in imitation of the early disciples of Jesus.
“Our poverty is apostolic because it witnesses to God as the one Lord of our lives and the only Absolute; it distances us from material goods and frees us from all attachment so that we can be fully available to serve the Gospel and dedicate ourselves to the most needy. In this way, poverty is itself a mission and a proclamation of the Beatitudes of the Kingdom.”
The vow of obedience is the touchstone of Jesuit life.  St. Ignatius wanted his companions to be ready at any time to respond to the greatest needs of the Church.  Jesuits seek to follow the will of God as it is revealed in the mission given to each Jesuit by his religious Superior in the Society of Jesus.  Solemnly professed Jesuits take a special vow of obedience to the Holy Father, the Pope, to be available for special missions.
“Impelled by the love of Christ, we embrace obedience as a distinctive grace conferred by God on the Society through its founder, whereby we may be united the more surely and constantly with God’s salvific will, and at the same time be made one in Christ among ourselves…”

Training for Mission


The novitiate is the first stage of Jesuit formation and novices begin to learn through experience about the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience as lived in a community setting.  He learns the traditions, rules and expectations of the Society of Jesus.  During this time he makes the Spiritual Exercises in a 30-day retreat and engages in a variety of “experiments,” such as serving the poor, the elderly, and teaching children. At the end of this two-year period of prayer, work and study, he pronounces perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience either as a brother or as a scholastic who will prepare for priestly ordination.
·       With these vows Jesuit scholastics and brothers normally begin a three-year period of philosophy and theology studies.  If the man has not yet received a bachelor’s degree, he studies for that at this time.  He may also be asked to use this time to begin graduate work in a field of specialization.  In the United States, there are three Jesuit First Studies programs:  Fordham University  (New York City), Loyola University (Chicago), and St. Louis University (St. Louis).Regency is the next stage of formation.  The Jesuit works for two or three years in a Jesuit school or other approved ministry while he lives in a Jesuit community.
·       After regency, Jesuit scholastics begin an intensive three-year study of theology which leads to priestly ordination.  In the United States, the Jesuits study theology at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California and the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry in Massachusetts. This may be followed either by full-time apostolic work or specialized studies.
·       After completing his theological studies and some years of ministry, the Jesuit completes his formal formation of prayer, guidance and studies with tertianship, a time of spiritual renewal and ministry with the poor. After the tertianship period, the Jesuit is called to final vows in the Society of Jesus.