Nine young people joined Palmerston North Bishop Charles Drennan for a weekend of “prayer, insight and purpose”. The annual vocations retreat was held at the Magnificat Retreat Centre in Wairarapa from July 6-8. It was for those discerning a call to diocesan priesthood or religious life as a priest, brother or sister.

Bishop Drennan was joined by Sisters of Compassion Sr Sosefina Mafi and Sr Tema Uabong, Fr Neil Vaney, SM, Young Church Ministry consultant Isabella McCafferty
as well as a Rosminian postulant and a diocesan seminarian.

Bishop Drennan said the retreat always bring hope to the diocese.

“Simply to know that it is happening uplifts everyone, perhaps in the same kind of way we feel when another young family or teenager walks through the church doors to take up a seat for Mass,” he said.

“Embracing the future with hope is an essential sign that our Christian Faith is alive and well.”

Bishop Drennan said the next step for the young people is “letting go of the familiar and an embrace of the partially unknown”.

“Unlike how perhaps some people imagine the life of a priest or sister or brother, it is a life of freedom. Ultimately all our formation and training is formation to be free of anything that locks us down or in or out, in order that we might serve without condition,” he said.

Bishop Drennan added freedom is not a gateway for endless possibilities.

“It’s the finding of the one possibility which liberates us to be who we truly are called to be,” he said.

Bishop Drennan acknowledged that taking the step towards priesthood or becoming a sister
or a brother is “a big call”.

But he expressed hope that more young people would find the courage to embrace “God’s call of self-giving freedom”.