Palmerston North Bishop Charles Drennan has described a vocations retreat held at the historic Compassion Sister’s convent at Hiruharama (Jerusalem) as marked by “a spirit of openness to God’s call”. A dozen young people attended the retreat this month to explore the possibility
of a vocation to priesthood or religious life.

“There was a tremendous spirit of openness to the call of God among the young people present and a readiness to think concretely about what their next step may be,” Bishop Drennan said.

He sensed that “two or three are on the verge of making a determinant next step while some of the younger participants are committed to continuing exploring the possibility of vocation”.

The retreat was led by Bishop Drennan.

Sr Emily Marafono of the Sisters of Joseph of Cluny, Srs Sue Cosgrove, DOLC, and Lusiana Puleosi, DOLC, and Fr Pat Brophy, SM, were also on hand to provide guidance.

The topics covered included discernment, consecrated life, prayer and calling, and the living of priesthood and/or religious life as a sister or brother today.

Bishop Drennan said he and the other leaders believed that “everybody left the weekend feeling encouraged”.

“Ongoing accompaniment would be a step for some of them which required a partnership of follow-up and response,” he added.

Asked what he hoped for from the weekend, Bishop Drennan responded, “I think it is important that we offer such weekends because it brings the vocation of priesthood and religious life to the fore.”

“Vocations are never in competition,” he noted, “rather, God has one for each and
every one of us.”

On the Sunday during the retreat, locals joined the vocations group for Mass at Hāto Hōhepa Church, which was built in 1892.

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