WASHINGTON (August 22, 2000) -- The North American Vocations Congress is slated for April 18-21, 2002, in Montreal, and is expected to draw more than 1,000 delegates from Canada and the United States.
The date of the event, which originally was planned for October 2001, was changed after the Vatican announced that a Synod of Bishops would be held during that same month. The two events are expected to draw some of the same participants, including the presidents of the U.S. and Canadian Bishops conferences, heads of Vatican offices concerned for vocations and leaders of religious orders of men and women.
The Congress, which is billed as the Third Continental Congress on Vocations to the Ordained Ministry and Consecrated Life in North America, will close on the 39th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, April 21, 2002.
Pope John Paul II called for this Congress on Vocations to take place in North America. It will be held in conjunction with the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education. This event will be the third such congress in recent years, following the 1994 Latin American Congress in Brazil and the 1997 European Congress held in Rome.
The purpose of the congress is to establish a positive environment within North America for promoting vocations to the ordained ministry and to the various forms of consecrated life. It is hoped that the event will unify and guide the Church in North America in its commitment to foster and nurture vocations.
The congress will celebrate vocations and facilitate discussion of pertinent issues and theological reflection aimed toward the initiation of a continent-wide pastoral plan for vocations.
Three bishops form the congress's episcopal advisers: Archbishop Roger Schwietz, Coadjutor Archbishop of Anchorage, Alaska; Bishop Richard Grecco, Auxiliary Bishop of London, Ontario; and Bishop Andre Rivest, Auxiliary Bishop of Montreal.
In a joint letter, the episcopal advisers expressed gratitude for the opportunity to host the meeting.
"We are grateful to His Holiness, Pope John Paul II for selecting North America for the site of this Third Continental Congress on Vocations," the bishops said. They also requested prayers and support "... asking the Lord of the harvest to bless our efforts in working for the success of the Congress on Vocations and to open the hearts of many men and women to courageously consider a vocation to the ordained ministry or consecrated life."
Co-chairmen for the Congress are Father Raymond Lafontaine of Montreal and Father Edward J. Burns, executive director of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Vocations and Priestly Formation.
Persons in the United States seeking further information should contact Father Burns at 3211 4th Street, NE; Washington, DC 20017-1194; Phone: 202-541-3033; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org