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Symposium Broadens Vocation Conversation and Invites Participation

Participants (left to right): Emily Vogel, De La Salle Institute, Chicago, IL; Brother Ed Phelan, FSC, District of Eastern North America; Chris Swain, Christian Brothers Conference, Washington, D.C.; Kathleen Swain, Lasallian Volunteers, Washington, D.C.; PJ Thompson, Professor’s Choice, Winona, MN; Phillippe Blais, Centre Notre-Dame de la Rouge, Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, QC; Jeff Ramon, St. Paul’s, Covington, LA; Quang Luu, Saint Mary’s College of California, Moraga, CA; Paul Evra, Centre Lasallien Saint-Michel, Montréal, QC; Elissa Pensa Cerros, La Salle Academy, Providence, RI; Joey Preston, Christian Brothers University, Memphis, TN; Kenenna Amuzie, District of San Francisco New Orleans; Brother Michael Kadow, FSC, Midwest District; and Chrysy Chrysagis, Centre Lasallien Saint-Michel, Montréal, QC. Courtesy PJ Thompson

A new initiative of the Lasallian Region of North America (RELAN), the Lasallian Vocation Symposium brought together representatives from each of the four Districts from a variety of ministry types and lived experiences within the Lasallian family to dialogue on the topic of Lasallian vocations and develop ways to further invite reflection, conversation and resource development to foster a culture of vocations in RELAN. 

The in-person gathering of the symposium, held at La Salle Manor in Plano, Illinois, August 9-12, was preceded by three online sessions that provided a framework and laid the foundation for the in-person gathering. The online sessions explored shared understandings about vocation, practical strategies for fostering a culture of vocations in local ministries, and the invitation to all in our educational communities (adults and young people alike) to deepen and discern their Lasallian vocation.

“The symposium provided an opportunity to write the prologue for our next Lasallian story,” said PJ Thompson, sales and marketing manager for Professor’s Choice, a division of Saint Mary’s Press.

Together during the in-person gathering, symposium participants explored and developed ways to further encourage and broaden conversations, reflections, and sharing about vocation in local, District and Region settings.

“Reminded of our rich history and the roots of our charism, we took a journey together and by association, to discover seeds of hope through our own vocation stories and the lens of new possibilities to nurture what John Baptist de La Salle began and to encourage new ways to live our mission in the world,” said Thompson.

Phillippe Blais and Chrysy Chrysagis discuss opportunities in the District of Francophone Canada to further broaden the conversation about Lasallian vocations. Courtesy PJ Thompson

In particular, the upcoming Year of Lasallian Vocations will provide each member of the Lasallian family a unique opportunity to reflect on their personal journeys, their collective journey as part of the Lasallian charism and mission, and consider the opportunity in sharing that call with others, especially those entrusted to their care.

“The symposium provided an opportunity to reflect more deeply and in community on the heart of the Lasallian vocation,” said Brother Michael Kadow, FSC, Auxiliary Visitor for the Midwest District.

Looking toward the Year of Lasallian Vocations, the participants developed plans to further share about outcomes, common understandings, and resources during the symposium. These items will be disseminated through the Regional Office of Lasallian Vocation Ministry.

“The topic of Lasallian vocation is important because Lasallians and others of good will need to be invited to name and claim their vocations within mission on behalf of the greater good,” said Brother Michael.