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Posted July 6, 2006

A Success Story Well Worth Duplicating

A Café That Promotes Vocations

An Interview With the Director, Georgina Trias

VALENCIA, Spain, JULY 4, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The World Meeting of Families, under way in Valencia, seeks among other things to present to young people the beauty of being close followers of Jesus Christ.

This is the objective of Café Vocation.com -- as explained to ZENIT in this interview with its director, Georgina Trias. Married and a mother of two, Trias has a licentiate in religious sciences and Hispanic philology, and is a specialist in advising educational centers and in vocational orientation through Web pages.

Q: It seems strange to combine the idea of a café with vocations. Where did the idea of the Café Vocation.com come from?

Trias: A café is a place where one can get together with friends to talk about some subject; that is why vocation and café make an excellent combination. This idea arose in the United States when preparing for the World Youth Day which was held in Toronto.

Some of the laity were concerned to offer participants in the Day an environment in which they could, on one hand, rest and socialize, enjoy live music and be able to read their e-mail for free, and also go to the sacrament of reconciliation or spend a while in Eucharistic adoration to reflect more deeply on the experience of those days.

The idea, a novelty without a doubt, was very well received, and that is why it was repeated in Cologne last year.

Q: What impressions did the café in Cologne leave?

Trias: During the days that Café Vocation.com was open in Cologne, it was visited by more than 16,000 youths.

They heard the testimonies of bishops, priests, nuns and committed laity, and they returned bringing more young people.

The café's animation is the responsibility of married couples and young volunteers who are really keen to have the beauty of the Christian vocation known.

We had more than 15 priests hearing confessions virtually the whole time that the café was open and this in several languages, to be able to receive pilgrims from various nations.

Q: And do you have proof that vocations arose thanks to the café? Trias: On the page www.vocation.com we received thank you notes during the days of the café and also in the following weeks.

On one hand, there were not a few who, thanks to that visit, posed to themselves the possibility that Christ might be calling them. Moreover, several bishops and religious had left material on their seminaries and houses of formation in the café, so that those who were interested could contact them.

Q: Why have a café at the World Meeting of Families?

Trias: The Pope does not cease to remind us that the family plays a primordial role for the transmission of the faith to young people, and we are convinced, as he teaches us, that the Christian family is the place where future vocations to the priesthood and consecrate life will flower.

That is why it could not be lacking. Thank God we have been able to locate the café only 800 meters from the site where events with the Holy Father will take place and we will be open from July 4-8 on Avenue Baleares No. 2, in a Valencia hotel. Moreover, we will have more than 80 volunteers, the majority youths.

Q: What has been the initiative's reception among bishops?

Trias: Café Vocation.com seeks to be a service to the Church, which promotes all vocations in the Church; I think that the bishops who know our work, appreciate it.

In other editions of the café, some of them have come to share their testimony and the history of their vocation with those who visit us, and this is a great incentive for us.

It would be enough, to be worthwhile, if with this initiative one youth decided to take the step to go to the seminary of his diocese or would like to become a missionary or contemplative religious. Café Vocation.com will also form part of the official program of the 2008 Sydney World Youth Day.