Vocations in Ireland, as one might expect, come from many different sources. It is something of a rarity to find vocations coming from the 'traditional' Catholic family. My experience is that young people who are curious about their faith and have a desire to express their Catholic faith often have to seek out other young Catholics and organisations in order for this to happen. It is for this reason that the new evangelisation movements such as Youth 2000, Pure in Heart and many others are a significant resource for young people. It is from involvement with these groups that the question of vocation will arise. Indeed, over the past number of years, these young Catholic organisations have been the foundation and inspiration for many vocations to religious congregations, both male and female.
The summer season sees many of these Catholic groups organise summer youth festivals. It is worth mentioning some of the upcoming events. You may be interested in attending one or all of them.
Firstly, there is a festival in Galway, which will last for two weeks (july 4-19) and is open to people of all ages. Several parishes in the city will be hosting a variety of faith based events - concerts, discussion groups, parish missions and joyful celebrations of the Eucharist. Full details are available at http://www.creideamh.org/
Secondly, a festival open to those aged 18-35 years takes place at Knock Shrine from July 23rd to 26th. The theme is 'You are the Light of the World'. This event was hugely succesful last year and is expected to be even bigger this year. The various dioceses around the country are promoting this event and more information can be had by visiting www.knock-shrine.ie/youthfestival
Thirdly, the Youth 2000 summer festival takes place at Clonmacnois, Co. Offaly from August 13th to 16th. Over 1,000 participants are expected to attend the event which will have a particular emphasis on the celebration of the Eucharist, prayer, concerts, a series of talks and witnesses and healing services. To find out more, please visit http://www.youth2000.ie/
Best wishes to all the organisers and participants of these events this summer!