Largest UK vocations festival a resounding success

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Around four hundred young adults gathered at Oscott College in Birmingham this weekend (Friday 6 July – Sunday 8 July) to celebrate the third national discernment festival, Invocation.

In the largest festival to date, young people from across the UK met with priests and Religious, and heard addresses from Canon Luiz Ruscillo, Sr Catherine Holum CFR, and Bishop Mark Davies. They also venerated the relic of the heart of St John Vianney – the patron saint of Parish Priests – which concluded its four day visit to the UK at the event. 

At the final Mass, Archbishop Vincent Nichols was joined by the Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Reverend Bernard Longley, and the Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency the Most Reverend Antonio Mennini, who preached at the closing liturgy.

In his homily, Archbishop Mennini said, “This Invocation Festival is a wonderful opportunity for you to seek out others who share your desire to know God’s will and who visibly remind you very clearly that you are not alone. None of us is alone when we know and love the Lord! Here too, during this festival, and perhaps when you are at home […] it is possible to make the time, the space and especially the silence as members of the Body of Christ to help one another in listening for, and hearing God’s call, especially in the Holy Eucharist and during time spent in adoration of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament”. 

The festival, for young men and women aged 16-35, aims to deepen their relationship with Christ, giving them access to good formation and space for the discernment and understanding of God’s will for their lives. It offers them the chance to speak with priests and Religious who are joyfully living their vocation, and to encounter a confident Catholic future for their lives. 

Sr Catherine Holum, a former Olympic speedskater-turned-nun spoke about her vocation to the Religious Life saying: “The greatest joy about being a sister is belonging totally to Jesus. He is my spouse”. 

Fr Stephen Langridge, Chairman of the national Conference of Diocesan Directors of Vocation (CDDV), and one of the organisers of the event, said, “This year’s event exceeded all our expectations. It is a privilege to help these young Catholics find the life that God is calling them to lead, and with the Lord’s help, the Church can be confident of an exciting future”.