Teachers Lauded as Key to Promoting Vocations

Considered Instrumental in Helping Youth Find Call to Priesthood

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LONDON, DEC. 19, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Teachers have a key role in helping youth discover a calling to the priesthood, but they need to first have a sense of their own mission as educators, concluded a group of vocations directors meeting in Spain.

The officials from England and Wales gathered last month at the annual conference of diocesan vocation directors from the United Kingdom at the Royal English College in Valladolid, Spain. One of the main conclusions of the conference was the need to "name and celebrate the 'vocation of teaching.'"

"The vocations directors recognized that teachers are often in a privileged position when it comes to helping young people to discern their future and to recognize the call of God in their lives," a summary statement reported. "To do this effectively, teachers need to recognize their own life-vocation as Christian educators."

Speaking on behalf of the vocation directors who attended the conference, Father Paul Embery from the National Office for Vocation said, "We need to place greater emphasis on naming and celebrating teaching as a vocation, so that teachers are affirmed in the great work they do in our schools. Only if they are positive about their own life-calling can they adequately convey a sense of vocation to those whom they educate."

The directors acknowledged the difficulty many schools have in finding teachers who are strong in their faith.

"They expressed a desire that those who train teachers would encourage their students to see the profession they are entering as a vocation and also as one that involves helping young people in their own vocational discernment," the statement said.

The directors expressed their satisfaction that more diocesan-level vocation discernment programs and initiatives are being implemented.