Catholic Priests and Nuns Are Key to World Youth Day Vocations Project

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Two Catholic organizations - The Society for the Preservation of Roman Catholic Heritage and Juventutem USA - have partnered to develop a religious vocations project for World Youth Day 2008. They will bring young priests and nuns to Australia to speak about their vocation experiences with the expected hundreds of thousands of young people attending the Vocations Expo in Sydney. In addition, SPORCH will display an exhibit entitled "Art from the Altar" and distribute vocation prayer booklets.

What is the best way to increase vocations amongst young people in the Catholic Church? The directors of the Society for the Preservation of Roman Catholic Heritage (http://www.sporch.org) and Juventutem USA (http://www.juventutemusa.org) asked themselves this question while developing a vocations project for World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney.

The answer became immediately apparent: bring young priests and nuns to Australia and let them do the talking.

"We want to run a kiosk at the Vocations Expo in Sydney," explained Mary Popp, director of SPORCH, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Catholic art and liturgical artifacts. "We have a beautiful exhibit of art and artifacts related to the celebration of Mass to display and booklets of vocation prayers to pass out. But the most compelling inspiration for becoming a priest or nun is to see a young, devout and joyful person pursuing a vocation and think 'I want to do this, too…' So we decided to bring a group of priests and nuns, all under 35 years of age, to Australia to tell their stories and stand as examples of what is still possible, even in the modern world, for young devout people."

SPORCH has partnered with Juventutem USA to raise money to bring these priests and nuns to Australia to staff the kiosk at the Vocations Expo during World Youth Day. Organizers of the event expect over 500,000 people to pass through the Expo during its four days of operation. The goals of SPORCH and Juventutem dovetail nicely. Founded in 2005, Juventutem has now become an international youth movement whose goal is the daily sanctification of Catholic youth through Roman traditions - most especially through devotion to the extraordinary form of the Roman liturgy. Use of this liturgical form was recently liberalized by Pope Benedict XVI in his letter "Summorum Pontificum." Both organizations, therefore, are dedicated to Roman Catholic tradition and the edification and education of young people.

"We know that by meeting with the young people and talking to them at World Youth Day, the fathers and sisters will do a tremendous amount of good," Popp continued, "But we need the money to bring them with us. The sisters have taken a vow of poverty and cannot afford the trip. Unless we raise the funds, some of these young nuns will be sitting home for World Youth Day instead of spreading the good news of religious life to other young Catholics in Sydney."

SPORCH and Juventutem need to raise $22,000 to bring their vocations project to fruition. Donations to support the travel of priests and nuns can be made at http://www.wyd2008orbust.com. Places are also open for lay-people who would like to help staff the kiosk: more information on itinerary and pricing can be found at http://www.juventutemusa.org.

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