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Vocations Congress Set to Convene

Vocations workers in Canada and the United States will gather in regional meetings this fall to discuss signs of hope as well as obstacles for young people considering ordained ministry and consecrated life.

Bishops, vocations directors of religious communities, parents, catechists, school and youth ministers are expected to attend the regional meetings.

The Canadian and U.S. bishops' conferences have the main responsibility for the 2002 vocations congress. They are planning it with input from the Vatican and from leaders of religious orders and associations of diocesan and religious vocations directors in both countries.

Organizers say that the objectives of the continental congress are to build a positive environment in North America for promoting vocations; to guide the North American church in identifying, discerning and nurturing vocations; and to welcome future "workers to the harvest."

The agenda will include five keynote presentations and 15 workshops, 12 of which will be in English and three in French.

Among the workshops will be:

-- A multicultural panel of young priests and women religious who will tell their stories.

-- A presentation by Dominican Sister Diane Poplawski of Racine, Wis., on research that shows young people's views on vocations.

-- Father John Reagan of Joliet, Ill., will show how to use media and technology in promoting vocations.

-- Dorothy Foss of the National Conference of Diocesan Vocations Directors and Auxiliary Bishop Richard J. Garcia of Sacramento, Calif., will discuss how to promote vocations in parish and family life.

-- Bishop Gregory M. Aymond of Austin, Texas, will address how to create an environment of mentoring and discernment for young people.

-- Dominican Father Daniel Cadrin of Montreal will deliver a presentation in French on innovative approaches to fostering vocations.

-- Jesuit Father Bernard Carriere of Pierrefonds, Quebec, will discuss in French how to help people discerning a vocation see the lifestyle as one of service and freedom.

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