The field of Dehonian vocation ministry is very fruitful in Cameroon. Each year, a session is organized for around 25 young aspirants, with the aim of accompanying them and preparing those who will be chosen to begin postulancy formation.
Accompanying young people – aspirant sessions
Vocation ministry is the first stage of initial formation. When it comes to Dehonian vocations in Cameroon, our congregation can be compared to that seed that has fallen on good soil and is bearing good fruit in abundance. Based on the statistics of the number of aspirants knocking at our doors over the last two years (22 aspirants in 2021-2022, and 25 in 2022-2023), we can say that God is gracious to us; the Holy Spirit is at work. However, all confreres are called, according to their availability, to bring the Dehonian charism to fruition in the guidance of young people who would like to consecrate themselves to Christ in the religious life or who, in a particular way, would like to identify with him under Father Dehon’s experience of faith (charism and spirituality), especially in this changing world. As Saint Luke says, we are called to “pray that the Lord of the harvest may send out laborers into his harvest” (Lk10:2). It is God who calls, and provides the means for those called to respond. A vocations commission has been set up by the provincial administration to help these young people verify and purify their intentions and guide them towards the Dehonian way of life. All this in compliance with the standards set out in the Ratio formationis provincialis. This year, as usual, we held our provincial session in a new theme: “The Dehonian vocation: what path for young people who want to commit themselves? The session went very well, with well-prepared lectures and entertainment. The session brought together young people from all four poles of Cameroon, aged between 17 and 25 for candidates with a Baccalauréat or G.C.E Advance Levels, and between 25 and 30 for those with a Licence or Bachelor degree.
A few difficulties
However, the vocations commission in Cameroon faces a number of problems, both internal and external. Internally, we stress the need for staff training, both at provincial and general level, to be able to deal with current issues. We also point to the problems associated with older candidates, language and the cases of former diocesan seminarians knocking on our doors. Parents who, while opposed to the choice of their children, remain attached to certain values embodied in African culture, which stipulate that a true man is one who has offspring. Externally, we have the major problem of finance. In fact, the Cameroon Province Vocations Commission is not sufficiently equipped with the didactic materials needed to support young people (bilingual brochures, projectors for films and documentaries).
Every vocation is a gift from God
We give thanks to God for so many young people who are still attracted by our lifestyle in our various places of presence, and whom the Lord is calling to his service in our congregation. Through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, our patron saints and our venerable founder Father Jean Léon Dehon, may the Reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus come to pass in souls and societies.