YOUNG Catholics hitting a wall with their life vocation fired questions at priests and nuns outside St Stephen’s Cathedral last week.
More than 200 young people wandered through the Youth and Vocations Expo, run by St Stephen’s Young Adult Ministry and Vocation Brisbane on Sunday, August 2.
The annual event marked the beginning of National Vocations Week, held this year from August 2 to 9.
Religious sisters, brothers and priests from Brisbane congregations, including the rarely public discalced Carmelite nuns from the Ormiston monastery, shared their unique charisms with the youth outside Brisbane’s St Stephen’s Cathedral.
Archbishop Mark Coleridge welcomed the youth to the cathedral during the midday Mass.
Canossian Sister Thao Nguyen, who works closely with the St Stephen’s YAM members, said the group’s sixth expo was not about any religious congregation “claiming” a young person.
“We’re not here to claim people to our own vocations but to be able to say these are the choices in life and allow the young people to discern their vocations,” Sr Nguyen said.
“To be able to share that with other religious sisters and brothers and say, these are your choices, go and explore.”
Joining Brisbane’s consecrated religious and priests were ministries connected with Catholic youth, including various ethnic communities, volunteer charities and cultural groups.
Vocation Brisbane officer Patrick Ransom said this year’s expo attracted twice as many ministries, religious congregations and visitors than 2014’s event.
Mr Ransom said the 2015 expo placed a bigger emphasis on engaging multicultural communities, inviting them to showcase cultural dance and song.
“To be able to have their gifits and cultural diversity on show is a real blessing,” he said.
St Stephen’s YAM member Joseph Grogan said the central hope for the expo was to provide a “spiritually fruitful” event that cultivated “a culture of vocations awareness”.
“Too often in contemporary society, vocations is almost isolated as being its own sphere, and in a very deep and reverent respect it is, but at the same token it shouldn’t be to the alienation or ostracisation of youth and young culture,” Mr Grogan said.
“So I think this expo allows youth evangelisation and vocations awareness to integrate and for young people to come and explore the full dimension of vocations that they may not be aware of.”
Mr Grogan said it was a “pleasure and privilege” to welcome the Carmelite Sisters, who have not been to the cathedral since 2000.
“Their religious witness is singular and deeply cherished between all of good faith,” he said.