I returned to Dublin this evening and noticed that I have clocked up 90,000 kilometres on my two year old car - a Nissan Almera. It set me thinking about the amount of time I spend travelling. In the past seven years I have travelled about 250,000 kilometres around Ireland on vocations ministry. This doesnt include the many air miles travelled for the same purpose.
This week of travel was a typical one: On Sunday, I travelled to my hometown of Portlaoise, on Monday to Navan for a vocations meeting, Tuesday to Belfast to meet with a prospective candidate, Wednesday to Sligo to meet with a new enquirer and Thursday to Galway for a similar meeting. All in all over 1,000 kilometres. But this travel is essential - particularly to meet those who are enquiring about our way of life - whether they are new enquirers or those who I meet on a monthly basis! It is one of the most important tasks of vocation ministry - namely to get in touch as soon as a person makes contact about the Order. I realise the great effort it is for someone to make contact about vocation - the least we can do is return the courtesy immediately.
For many years I was closely associated with an association of vocations directors. From feedback from enquirers to that organisation, the greatest criticism of vocations directors was that they (vocation directors) were exceptionally slow to to respond to enquiries!! It never made sense to me - it still doesnt't! The quarter of a million kilometres so far has been worth it!