St Joseph’s Theological Institute: Formation for Mission and Ministry Conference
St Joseph’s Theological Institute will hold its fifth academic conference from April 5-7 at its campus in Cedara, near Pietermaritzburg. This year’s theme is “Formation for Mission and Ministry”, relating to the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment to be held in Rome in October.
The preparatory document for the synod makes a number of points which will inform the Cedara conference’s discussions, said research officer Fr Stuart Bate OMI.
Points From the Synod include:
- Faith is the source of vocational discernment, because faith provides vocational discernment with its fundamental contents, specific development, personal style and pedagogy.
- Vocational discernment is not accomplished in a single act…It is a long process unfolding over time, during which one continues to monitor the signs used by the Lord to indicate and specify a vocation that is very personal and unique.
- Accepting the mission implies the willingness to risk one’s life and to travel the way of the cross, in the footsteps of Jesus, who firmly set out on his journey to Jerusalem (Lk 9:51) to offer his life for humanity. Only by giving up being selfishly occupied with one’s needs does a person become open to accommodate God’s plan in family life, the ordained ministry or consecrated life.
“The document also points out areas of ecclesial activity which help youth discover and deepen their Christian vocation and commitment,” Fr Bate said. “These include parishes, universities, Catholic schools, social activity groups, volunteer work, associations and ecclesial movements, as well as seminaries and houses of formation.”
The collaborative research group of St Joseph’s is working on a number of themes for the conference. These include:
- Formation for ordained ministry in different churches;
- Faith formation training for catechists at parish level;
- Training youth in mission and ministry, with insights from the Young Christian Workers movement;
- The impact of the Internet and social media in formation.
St Joseph’s Theological Institute is inviting authors, academics and others to submit abstracts of papers they would like to present at the conference. The deadline is March 1.