Ten Years of Lay Vocation Promoters

Jul 3, 2024 | Colombia Oriental - Ecuador, Youth & Vocations Ministry

The first group of Lay Vocation Promoters (LPV) of Colombia Oriental – Ecuador Province was established in June 2014 in Neiva-Huila, Colombia. This initiative was a result of the popular mission conducted in the Cándido neighborhood by the Claretian Missionaries to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the St. Anthony Mary Claret Parish. The group was formed in collaboration with Fr. Miller Fernández, CMF, and they were officially consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 2015.

Their pastoral mission consists of fostering vocational culture and creating an environment where different vocations are known and valued. It is grounded in the fruitfulness that comes from the Holy Spirit through prayer, work, and promotion of the Claretian missionary charism.

The service includes three main aspects. The first is vocational prayer, which is conducted daily from home and in the temple after each Eucharist. They have a “Thursday vocation day,” organized by the vocation promoters to pray for priestly, missionary, religious, and lay vocations. Then there’s the vocation rosary. As part of this service, individuals also commit to praying for the vocational godchildren, young people with a vocational interest, for whom each promoter has taken responsibility. Additionally, on the first Friday of each month, they participate in prayers of reparation to the hearts of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary as a vocational prayer. Lastly, they also participate annually during the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. This practice not only strengthens their faith and that of the parish community, but also shows others that prayer is the driving force behind the vocational call, and they distribute vocational prayer to invite and engage others in this service.

The second aspect involves identifying and promoting young people with vocational interests. To achieve this, they receive training in face-to-face and virtual charismatic aspects, as well as pastoral and biblical activities. This prepares them to engage in various scenarios, such as vocation expos, school activities, and pastoral groups, representing the Claretian vocation ministry. Their relational capacity and leadership skills enable them to reach different places and identify young people who are then referred to persons responsible for the discernment process. Through family visits, they build closeness and trust, facilitating the promotion of Father Claret’s missionary style and inviting others to become part of the community. To ensure the participation of young people in vocational activities, they also assist in organizing and accompanying various events while establishing connections with missions and other ongoing activities.

Lastly, the third aspect is the economic assistance that involves identifying people who wish to contribute to the formation of missionaries. For this purpose, piggy banks have been set up in some parishes where resources designated for this purpose are deposited. Additionally, they promote and contribute to the annual vocational collection and help to sell articles promoted through vocational pastoral activities. The ultimate objective is to provide means to help religious and LPVs (Lay Pastoral Visitors) raise vocations to be a recurring theme in their pastoral dynamics.     

During the monthly meetings, they share the Word of God, analyze topics related to vocation, prepare different group activities, make arrangements for upcoming events, and share a small meal. Whenever the provincial vocational promoter visits the city, the group is called for meetings and training to address any pending aspects.

The experience has led to over 40 people in the Province providing services in both Colombia and Ecuador, even in places not necessarily linked to local Claretian communities. Their level of empowerment and synodal action has enabled them to establish vocational nurseries and hold vocational meetings. These meetings have helped young people to enter the community with support. This practice has been replicated in some dioceses and has generated great interest in various religious communities. It is seen as a strategy that helps others to become laborers of the Lord’s vineyard.

Coe 20240703 Lay Vocation Promoters 10Th Year 1

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