There is great value for the young adult in learning from one who has “lived the life.” A testimony from an older religious is very powerful because that testimony becomes "indisputable evidence" of life in that particular community.
These short-term activities that can be adapted to suit vocation purposes. Many of the ideas offer an indirect approach, which is less threatening for those who are just beginning to discern. However, direct contact in the longer retreat or live in may better suit those who are more seriously exploring religious life. We have included some variations of retreat models.
Theology on Tap
- Contemporary, young adult focused, catechesis on a variety of relevant topics
- Usually set in a local bar, offered by guest speakers and organized by the young adults themselves.
- Usually takes between 2-3 hours, offers some time for social interaction
- Program is followed by adoration
- Vocation is frequently the topic
- Funding: sometimes volunteer speakers. Can easily dovetail with other activities. Using a panel of religious to describe opportunities opens vocation awareness and curiosity.
Dead Theologians Society
- Invite religious to come!
- Group gathers to discuss theology of dead authors.
- Using a work related to vocation can help promote vocation.
- Social aspect can be involved.
- Example: using the work of John Paul II is a good possibility
Home Bible Study
- Weekly meetings.
- Similar to a book club in terms of reading a text and offering an open forum for scriptures reflection and “check in” with young adults present.
- Goals: community growth and growth in individual faith.
- Combined with other events: adoration, scripture study, social interaction
Shadow a Religious
- Experience the daily life of the religious by “shadowing” them in their daily life.
- The focus is to spend time with one particular religious rather than with other discerners, etc.
- Whirlwind tour of missions in a given region of a state/country.
- Offers the chance to see living situation, ministry, prayer, etc.
- 50% application rate from interested participants
Meet the leadership night
- Modeled on the opportunity to meet the leaders of a diocese/religious group
- This seems to be effective for those who are younger discerners; especially it can be an honor to meet the leaders of a congregation.
- John Paul II as major influence on many young adults. Replicate world youth day on the diocesan level
- Invite bishop/archbishop to be present for such a program
The reverse interview
- The candidate is invited to interview the pre-selected religious about their life and vocation, etc.
- Young Adults love to know about the life of others.
- Better not as a stand-alone program, but as part of a larger vocational program.
Prayer/Holy Hour for Vocations
- Adoration-invitation sent to the parish or area
- People who come to these events are usually those most interested in the possibility of a vocation.
- Seminarians lead the hour of prayer/adoration. Litany of all the patron saints (of parishes) in the diocese.
Ask the Vocation Director
- Some orders have a searchable database of questions that have been asked and answered by the vocation director.
- Website: http://vocation.nd.edu/
Stump the Religious Night
- ‘Stump the Priest’ night, which is enormously successful in my experience.
- Last season the Cincinnati group reserved some time after the bishop’s presentation for stumping questions—we ran out of time.
- Of course a silent retreat at the motherhouse can be a great experience but
- An outdoor setting offers a nice twist to the silent retreat.
- Purpose of the retreat is to give the opportunity for the young adult to discern within himself whether God may be calling him here, to learn the spiritual charism through prayer, talks and example, or both.
- The young Fr. Karol Woytyla was famous for taking young people on wilderness trips. Later in life, he contributed to vocation promotion.
- Can have the same format as a silent retreat or wilderness retreat but done in the evening by a lake or the ocean has the wonderful closeness to God in nature and attracts many of the “camper discerners”
- Visit to a convent or Motherhouse-
- Visit 3-4 in one day or
- 4-6 in one weekend
- Usually sponsored by the Campus Ministry on a college campus
- Team of speakers attend the Sunday Liturgies to invite all students to the nightly talks
- Each evening a team member speaks on a different topic-Eucharist/Reconciliation
- During the day students sign up to speak one-on-one to a retreat director
Frank J. Lewis Institute
- An Orientation for Campus Ministry people-developing leaders
- Forming Faith Community
- Ignatian Spirituality for those in their 20’s and 30’s
Freedom and Desire Panel
This Panel was designed by the Young Adult Committee for a National Conference of the NRVC. Young Adults were invited to attend and ask questions and dialogue with panel members. It was advertised as a session for Young Adults seeking more information on the Vows of Religious Life. The materials for facilitating this panel are included here.
- Explanation of Freedom and Desire Panel
- Presentation format
- Prompts for Religious Reflection on Vows
- Formula for First Vows (used as part of the presentation)
- Flyer for Freedom and Desire Panel
- Evaluation form
For more information please contact:
Sr. Christine Kiley ascj
265 Benham St.
Hamden, CT 06514
Within These Walls
A guided tour of the signs, symbols and treasures of your parish church. This program is to heighten awareness and cultivate appreciation of the Mass and an appreciation for all things religious and spiritual.
- Materials for facilitating this program are included here.
- Ways to set up this project
- Flyer on the vessels, vestments, books and sacramentals used in Holy Mass
- This could be included in a session with an Explanation of the Catholic Mass
For more information check the Archdiocese of Chicago website.
Programs that YOUNG ADULTS have said in evaluations that they found helpful in their discernment.
During discernment retreats as part of Night Prayer-Compline the Examen prayer is incorporated. An explanation of the Ignatian prayer and how it can be used nightly to complement ones prayer life.
Taize is a simple, meditative prayer which includes scripture, music, and periods of silence. It is used as part of a Night of Reflection, Advent/Lenten Day of Recollection and is a favorite of many of the Discerning Young Adults.
The examination of conscience originally written by St. Ignatius has been adapted and is very appealing to young people. There are many different formats and they usually contain the following basic componants.
- THANK God for the blessings of the day
- ASK for the grace to see clearly and growing in my relationship with Christ
- EXAMINE actions, omissions, thoughts, desires in my relationships with God and with myself and others in God.
- ASK for forgiveness for the areas of my life that have offended God
“Young adults want to develop their spiritual life. They speak of this as being the foundation—the rootedness of their lives. It is through this spiritual life that young adults grow in appreciation for the way God works in their lives.”
Sons and Daughters of Light