END OF SUMMER ALSO MEANS BEGINNINGS OF PRIESTLY VOCATIONS
"Back to School" is a phrase heard each August as students shop for clothes and school supplies and feel some anxiety about what lies down the road. It's not just grade school and high school students who know this experience. It's also felt by men who have worked in various careers and jobs, but now are responding to the Lord's call to priesthood, says Rev. Edward J. Burns, Executive Director of the NCCB Secretariat for Vocations and Priestly Formation. "In essence, these men are going 'back to school' as they enter seminary for the first time this fall." Vocation directors have insights to what some men experience as they return back to the classroom.
Reverend Edward J. Burns can be reached at 202/541-3033.
U.S. BISHOPS TO CALL ATTENTION TO PLIGHT OF AFRICA'S REFUGEES
As the world focuses on the devastation taking place throughout Africa, a delegation of U.S. bishops will travel to Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), the Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville), and Kenya, August 18-30, to assess the plight of the refugees and make policy recommendations on how the United States might improve its assistance response. A delegation of seven members including three bishops and a Vatican representative will visit the refugee camps and meet with representatives from the episcopal conferences, government officials, U.S. ambassadors, and representatives of humanitarian agencies. "By gathering information firsthand, we expect to make solid recommendations to the Congress and Administration which we believe will ease the plight of these refugees who were forced from their homelands," said delegation member Mark Franken, Executive Director of the U.S. Catholic Conference's Migration and Refugee Services. "In addition, the bishops want to reaffirm our church's solidarity with the people of those nations," Franken said.
Mark Franken can be reached at 202-541-3065.
COLLEGIATES: LOOK FOR THE DORM, DINING HALL AND CAMPUS MINISTRY
Students arriving on colleges campuses in August ought to look up the campus ministry center when they're touring their new environment, according to Msgr. John Strynkowski, the U.S. bishops' adviser on higher education. "Most colleges, Catholic or not, provide a place where Catholics can meet other Catholics and find support from both their peers and the school chaplain," Msgr. Strynkowski said. "The campus ministry office also convenes young people who want a broad education including activities which serve others, for example, through projects to assist the poor and the hungry beyond the university walls. The campus ministry center, where students can attend Mass, offers everything a parish can -- from counseling and the sacraments, to friends and social life. Young people enjoy the Church on campus because it addresses their specific needs as young people away from home and, for many, on their own for the first time."
Msgr. Strynkowski can be reached at 202-541-3130.