On 4 February 2023 at the Pope John XXIII High School in Bissau the traditional “Vocation Fair” took place, already in its fourth edition, an ecclesial event that saw the participation of more than 400 young people in vocational research. They were accompanied both by parishes of the diocese of Bissau, and by the Religious and Missionary Institutes present in the diocesan territory. An occasion for meeting and sharing, in which each religious family usually presents its charism, its history, its activities and works, to allow young people to get to know and recognize God’s plan within themselves.
There were present 19 International Congregations, 1 diocesan religious congregation and we Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate participated along with the girls of Come and See and the PIME Fathers with the boys in formation.
The coordinator of diocesan vocational commission, Sr. Victoria Doroboina Missionary Sister of the Immaculate, supported by Fr. Florentino of the Congregation of Precious Blood of St. Gasparre del Bufalo, in collaboration with all the members of vocational team, organized the meeting whose theme was: Vocation to a Church of communion, collaboration and mission.
It was nice to perceive the richness of our local Church during the presentations, and we saw how the specific gift of each one offers one’s own contributions to the great family of the church. This made us realize that we are journeying together, that we need one another and are called to live in communion: this is the path of evangelization for us today. Even our aspirants, who took part in the meeting, shared their experience with us.
The vocational meeting was well organized and was very lively. What struck me the most was seeing all the Congregations gathered and hearing them share their charism and collaborate. This was for me a sign of unity and a manifestation of a desire to collaborate. It is a concrete way of being and feeling one Church.
In my opinion, however, it would have been nice to listen to the vocational and life experience of a couple, or a family or group of families. The young Landre Djata also shared her experience of vocational research: “what helped me a lot was silence and prayer, the practice of fasting, conversation with my spiritual guide and above all my determination to seek God’s will for me in order to better understand my vocation. I think that the biggest challenge for us young people here in Guinea-Bissau is not having the courage to decide. They participate in the vocational journey and at the same time cultivate a relationship with a boy or a girl. Thus, it is not easy to discover one’s vocation. Sometimes a call to consecrated life or to the priesthood is accepted, but it is repressed because one is not able to discern God’s will clearly and one is too emotionally involved with someone. I think it is necessary to help young people to discern their own vocation and to cultivate silence and prayer”.
Maria Manè, the other aspirant, was very impressed by the presentation of the various charisms, many of which she herself did not know. She concludes her sharing by expressing her desire: “the vocational meeting motivated me a lot and strengthened in me the desire to be a life long consecrated religious, like many sisters I saw in Guinea-Bissau”.
The meeting ended with the Holy Mass presided over by Fr. Davide Sciocco who commented on the Gospel of Zaccheus, emphasizing, among other things, how the Lord does not call the perfect, but sinners, those who feel in need of God’s mercy, to a life of offering and giving for the other. He concluded his homily by exhorting: “God calls and whoever feels called should not be afraid to follow the Lord Jesus, because only the life given is a life in full, a life that generates life, that rejoices the heart”. So courage, the harvest is great, but the labourers are few!
The editorial staff