HOW MANY people spend half of their lives wondering whether they have a vocation to the religious life or priesthood, and half regretting that they never got around to finding out in practice whether they did have a vocation . . . or not?
How many people, often those with no parish or school contact with clergy or religious, actually fear that they might have a vocation and never manage to pluck up the necessary courage or find an opportunity to take the next step on the path of discovery?
How many, too, seriously consider the priesthood in some particular service; as a missionary, a monk or a diocesan priest, but do not know where to go to apply, or whom to ask in this serious matter of "discernment of vocation"?
Since 1978 Ealing Abbey has endeavoured to meet the needs of such men. The monastery initiated a project'called "Fortyeight hour monastic experiences" to provide opportunities for Catholic men to investigate their thoughts and feelings on the subject of their vocation.
The weekends last from 6.30pm on Friday until 6.30pm on Sunday and are provided as part of the apostolate of the monastery in the Church and the world.
The weekends allow busy men to live a temporary monastic life, allowing them to participate in the endeavour of the monastic community.
The men who attend are able to share for a short time in the community life while distancing themselves from the distractions of daily living. They come to share in an atmosphere of relaxed quiet where the reality of God's presence is acknowledged by all. They take part in the liturgical worship of the house and are given help in prayer and the discernment of their vocations.
Such weekends are proving to be of value to those who take part. Several men have begun training as diocesan priests, some others have gone on to become monks, while yet others have honestly come to the conclusion that they have no such vocation.
The weekends take place four times each year, the next one having been arranged for the week-end of November 14-16, 1986, Those interested should write to:—Fr Dunstan Watkins OSB. Ealing Abbey, London W5 2DY,